The International Motor Racing Research Center is again partnering with the Society of Automotive Historians to present “The First Turn Meets the Cultural Turn – History on the Eights,” an academic symposium on racing history.
The fourth annual Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History will take place Friday and Saturday, Nov. 9 and 10. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend any or all of the sessions with no charge.
The two-day event will showcase discussions on Formula Vee, Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing, British automotive designer and engineer Reid Railton, several different presentations about NASCAR, and more. A detailed schedule may be seen on the Center’s website, racingarchives.org.
The Friday morning and afternoon sessions will be held at the Watkins Glen International Media Center adjacent to the race track. An evening reception from 5-8 p.m. at the IMRRC Visitor’s Center in downtown Watkins Glen will include a screening of the movie “Cars” followed by Jon Summers presenting “Differentiating Between Richard ‘The King’ Petty and Pixar’s ‘Mr. The King’: Historiography in NASCAR and Why It Matters.”
The Saturday sessions will take place at the Watkins Glen Elementary School auditorium adjacent to the IMRRC. Buz McKim, recently retired historian at the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, N.C. and author of “The NASCAR Vault: An Official History Featuring Rare Collectibles from Motorsports Images and Archives,” will be the keynote speaker.
Kate Sullivan, who raced “FrankenNova” to many regional and land speed records in Scotland in unmodified street classes including four-cylinder street car, diesel truck and four-cylinder pickup, will also be a presenter at the Symposium.
World-renowned racing historian and author Karl Ludvigsen will speak about automotive engineer and the subject of his new book, “REID RAILTON: Man of Speed,” at the Symposium.
Don Capps, chairman of the SAH International Motor Sports History Section and IMRRC Historians Council member, said that this year’s topics are particularly relevant.
“Seventy years ago racing culture exploded,” Capps said. “1948 was definitely a keystone year. From the founding of NASCAR to the origin of racing in the streets of Watkins Glen and the birth of many legendary venues and marques in Europe, the post-war world was ready to embrace motorsports. The theme for this year’s symposium celebrates that.”
The symposium debuted in 2015 and originally was named in honor of the late Jean S. Argetsinger, who collaborated with her husband, Cameron, when he revived road racing in America after World War II and later brought the United States Grand Prix for a successful 20-year run at Watkins Glen. Jean was a founder of the IMRRC.
At Jean’s request, the symposium was re-named in 2017 in honor of her son, Michael R. Argetsinger, an award-winning motorsports author and a longtime member of the IMRRC’s Governing Council who died in 2015.
Among the supporters of the annual symposium is the Watkins Glen Area Chamber of Commerce, which provides financial assistance.
The International Motor Racing Research Center collects, shares and preserves the history of motorsports. Spanning continents, eras and race series, the Center’s collection embodies the speed, drama and camaraderie of amateur and professional motor racing throughout the world. The Center welcomes serious researchers and the casual fans alike to share stories of race drivers, race series, and race cars captured on our shelves and walls, and brought to life through a regular calendar of public lectures and special events.
The International Society of Automotive Historians encourages research into any aspect of automotive history. The SAH actively supports the compilation and preservation of papers, organizational records, print ephemera and images to safeguard, broaden and deepen the understanding of motorized, wheeled land transportation through the modern age and into the future. For more information about the SAH, visit the website autohistory.org.
To learn more about the International Motor Racing Research Center, visit racingarchives.org.