Martin, Stewart honored as Drivers of the Decade
For over half a century, racing has been a part of the town of Watkins Glen. With hundreds of famous names listed as competitors at the historic road course, Watkins Glen compiled a list of drivers spanning the 60 years, naming six drivers of the decades.
On Aug. 8, Watkins Glen International announced that two-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart (1998-2007) and long time competitor Mark Martin (1988-1997) were drivers of the fifth and sixth decades, joining Al Holbert (1978-1987), Jackie Stewart (1968-1977) and Graham Hill (1958-1967) as previous honorees.
“I greatly appreciate this and this is a huge honor,” Stewart said when accepting the award. “When you look at the other drivers on the list — guys like Mark Donahue, Jackie Stewart and Mark Martin — this is a place every year with our record we look forward to coming here.” Stewart added.
Martin was not on hand personally to accept the award.
Since joining the Sprint Cup Series in 1999, Stewart has competed in nine Sprint Cup events at The Glen, compiling four victories, five top fives and seven top 10 finishes.
During the previous decade, Martin, like Stewart, dominated whenever he climbed into a racecar at Watkins Glen.
From 1988-1997 Martin recorded three consecutive Sprint Cup victories at the Glen, the only driver to do so. Martin was also able to secure nine top five finishes in the 10-year span.
“Being selected Driver of the Decade at Watkins Glen is a real special honor for me, “said Martin. “I’ve had some the of the greatest times of my life at Watkins Glen.”
While many fans of the area are more familiar with the recent events at Watkins Glen, recognizing the drivers of the past should give fans of all ages an opportunity to learn more about drivers that competed at The Glen throughout its history.
“Our history is very important and something we celebrate here, and it has defined this track over the long haul,” Watkins Glen International President Craig Rust explained. “Some of the drivers that have competed here are very important. And looking at Mark and Tony, who have won this award against all the other drivers and series that have competed, it is very important,” Rust added.
One driver has yet to be named to complete the six drivers of the decade program. The recipient for the period from 1948-1957 will be named during the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix weekend in September.