Many regular viewers of NBC’s Tonight Show With Jay Leno know that the show’s host is an avid car enthusiast. Besides his late night talk show, comedian Jay Leno also hosts a website dedicated to his passion for cars; the site is called Jay Leno’s Garage.com. This week, in Jay’s Book Club on the site, Mr. Leno talked with Michael Argetsinger, author of the book, Formula One at Watkins Glen: Twenty Years of the U.S. Grand Prix, 1961-1980.
Jay Leno admitted in his interview with Mr. Argetsinger that he has not yet had the opportunity to visit The Glen. However, he certainly heard of it growing up in the Boston area and during the years his older brother took him to Lime Rock in Connecticut.
“I’ve never been fortunate enough to go to Watkins Glen,” he said, even though he grew up on the East coast. “We never made Watkins Glen, but it always seems like a very magical sort of place to me because that seems like almost the birthplace of road racing in America.”
Mr. Leno is a fan of racer Jim Clark and knew about the infamous “Milliken’s Corner” on the old road circuit. He also praised Bill Milliken’s book, Equations of Motion, and both he and Mr. Argetsinger recommend it.
“Watkins Glen also has a wonderful library and research center, doesn’t it?” Mr. Leno asked the author. The question gave Michael Argetsinger the chance to mention that the proceeds of the book go to the International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC) in the town.
Michael Argetsinger told Mr. Leno that he looked at over 47,000 images to choose the 260 that are used in the book. The book chronicles the years leading up to and including the U.S. Grand Prix when it was held at the Watkins Glen track from 1961 to 1980. The volume was put together in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Formula One at The Glen and contains a foreword by 1978 Formula One World Champion, Mario Andretti.
Mr. Argetsinger knows of what he speaks. As the son of Cameron Argetsinger, he saw the development of the world-class race at Watkins Glen firsthand. Cameron Argetsinger is credited with bringing the race to town after first introducing European-style road racing to the village in 1948.
Readers, Formula One, and motor racing history enthusiasts may purchase the book through the IMRRC at the research center’s website or through David Bull Publishing or through a few other motorsport websites or entities.
Watkins Glen is located 70 miles south of Rochester, NY and still hosts an array of motor races, including NASCAR and historic racing at Watkins Glen International. The International Motor Racing Research Center is located at 610 S. Decatur Street in the village.
VIDEO: See Jay Leno’s interview with Michael Argetsinger here.
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