Racing Symposium Coming Up in Watkins Glen

Buz McKim, keynote speaker from the 2018 Argetsinger Symposium, returns this year to present Moonshine and Its Connection to the American Auto Industry.

Research Center to Host Fifth Annual Symposium for Motor Racing History Nov. 8-9

The International Motor Racing Research Center (IMRRC), in partnership with the Society of Automotive Historians and the Popular Culture Association’s Vehicle Culture Area, will present The Cultural Turn Meets the First Turn: Writing Motorsports History at the fifth annual Michael R. Argetsinger Symposium on International Motor Racing History.

This academic symposium will be held on Nov. 8-9 in the Media Center at the Watkins Glen International race track. The IMRRC will host a reception at the Research Center at 610 South Decatur Street in Watkins Glen on Friday from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. A detailed schedule for the weekend may be found at All events are free and open to the public, who are welcome to attend any or all sessions.

The two-day program will feature a keynote address, Writing Motorsports History, by Dr. John Heitmann, Professor Emeritus at the University of Dayton on Saturday afternoon. Friday’s schedule includes three panels whose topics include an examination of the legacy of Juan Manuel Fangio; the exploits and real life of Britain's first Speed Queen, Dorothy Levitt; and a consideration of the challenges encountered in presenting racing history to various generations, among others.

Saturday’s schedule includes the keynote address as well as two panels and a roundtable discussion entitled, Looking Forward: Writing about Motor Sports History and Culture, moderated by Col. H. Donald Capps, chair of the Society of Automotive Historians International Motor Sports History Section and member of the IMRRC Historian’s Council; and Dr. Pat Yongue, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Houston, an expert on women in racing and a member of the Society of Automotive Historians International Motor Sports History Section.

Saturday’s panel topics will include the relationship between NASA and motorsports; moonshine and its relationship with the American auto industry; and a look at motorsports’ intricate and symbiotic relationship with media broadcasting, among others.

The annual symposium began in 2015 and was originally named in honor of Jean S. Argetsinger, a founder of the IMRRC. In 2017, Jean asked that the symposium be renamed for son Michael, an award-winning motorsports author and longtime member of the IMRRC’s Governing Council, who died in 2015.

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 Popular Culture Association is a group of scholars and enthusiasts who study popular culture, writing, sharing and publishing in the field in a diverse array of subject areas, including vehicle culture.

The mission of the International Motor Racing Research Center is to collect, preserve and share the global history of motorsports with all racing fans from the casual spectator to the serious researcher. Visitors are welcomed to the Center to see the On the Grid display car, browse the library, enjoy displays from the collection and watch 25 Years at Speed: The Watkins Glen Story with Brock Yates, a film on the early history of racing at the Glen in the Center’s theater. The staff is on hand to share their passion for motorsports with all racing enthusiasts. Admission is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at 610 South Decatur Street in Watkins Glen.

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