While the NASCAR Cup Series has been holding races at Watkins Glen International since 1957, the 2.454-mile road course has only been an annual stop for the premier circuit since 1986.
The first Cup Series race at Watkins Glen took place on August 4, 1957, and was won by NASCAR Hall of Famer Buck Baker, who won 10 events that year on the way to his second consecutive points championship. Following a six-year hiatus, the Cup Series returned to “The Glen” in 1964 and 1965 before taking a lengthier layoff from 1966 to 1985.
In total, 23 different drivers have won at least one Cup Series race at Watkins Glen. Eight have taken multiple checkered flags while just three have won three or more races at “The Glen.” And it’s those three who we’ll focus on here today.
Mark Martin won three consecutive NASCAR Cup Series races at Watkins Glen International from 1993 to 1995
Of Mark Martin’s 40 NASCAR Cup Series victories, three came at Watkins Glen International and came in consecutive fashion.
The Hall of Famer took his first checkered flag on the road course in 1993 at the Budweiser at The Glen, leading 47 of 90 laps and defeating Roush Racing teammate Wally Dallenbach Jr. by nearly four seconds. It was the first of four consecutive wins that season as he also took checkered flags at Michigan International Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, and Darlington Raceway in the weeks that followed. Martin finished third in the points standings that year.
In 1994, he led 75 laps and edged out Ernie Irvan by 0.88 seconds to win his second consecutive race at Watkins Glen and completed the three-peat in 1995 with a 1.01-second victory over Dallenbach Jr.
Jeff Gordon won four races in five years at ‘The Glen’
Like Martin, Jeff Gordon also won three NASCAR Cup Series races in a row at Watkins Glen International. Two years after Martin completed his three-peat, Gordon began his with a 1.35-second victory over defending champion Geoffrey Bodine at the 1997 edition of The Bud at The Glen, his first-ever win on a road course.
Gordon then earned a 3.437-second victory over Martin in 1998 and completed his three-peat with a narrow .763-second win over Ron Fellows in 1999. Following a 23rd-place finish in 2000, the “Rainbow Warrior” returned to Victory Lane at Watkins Glen in 2001 with a .172-second win over Jeff Burton in 2001, making him the track’s first four-time winner.
Tony Stewart owns the most NASCAR Cup Series wins at Watkins Glen International with five
One year after Gordon’s final NASCAR Cup Series win at Watkins Glen International, Tony Stewart notched his first victory there with a 1.636-second win over Ryan Newman.
In 2004, Stewart took his second checkered flag at “The Glen” with a 1.517-second win over Fellows and added a third a year later with a 1.927-second victory over Robby Gordon. Stewart matched Gordon’s four wins in 2007 with a 2.46-second victory over Denny Hamlin in 2007 and became the track’s all-time leading winner with a fifth victory in 2009, defeating Marcos Ambrose by 2.969 seconds.
Stats courtesy of Racing Reference