Much of what gives an older racecar any value is its provenance. Who raced it, when and where? Other than by word of mouth or from the person you’re buying it from, that information wasn’t always easy to come by, to say nothing of its veracity.
Set up just outside the driver information area at the 2016 NASA Eastern States Championships Presented by Toyo Tires was a small display from the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Sure, the primary purpose for being at the Championships was to raise money by selling raffle tickets to win a 2016 Mazda MX-5, but also to make people aware of the center and the treasures it holds in its collections.
“Basically we’re a library dedicated to all forms of motorsport,” said Josh Ashby, an archival assistant for IMRRC. “We were established in 1999, when the founders of IMSA, John and Peg Bishop, and the founders of racing here at Watkins Glen, the Argetsinger family, got together and said, ‘You know, I think racing’s history is being thrown out,’ and in some cases they were very well right.”
You can research the provenance of a prospective vintage racecar you might be considering, or any other racing topic that interests you. The IMRRC has everything from a display racecar to pieces of drivers equipment, thousands of books and periodicals, films and videos and programs from various races. Ashby said much of the material has been donated to the center, including Rusty Wallace’s last Nextel Cup car, a gift from Roger Penske.
“Now, from what I understand, Roger’s only given away three cars, ever, to Mercedes-Benz, Indianapolis and us,” Ashby said. “So that puts us in pretty rare air already.”
The center’s collections also include a complete set of National Speed Sport News from the Chris Economaki era. Ashby said the center can research topics for you at the rate of $25 per hour. They can scan and make PDFs of relevant materials and send them to you, or, if you want, you can visit the center and do the research yourself.
“We’ve had people stay for a couple of weeks, and they go through all our stuff so they can research a book,” Ashby said. “We’ve had several books researched there.”
For more information, visit:
610 S. Decatur St.
Watkins Glen, NY 14891-1613