2021 Watkins Glen Preview

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – With the official onset of the summer season, IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge action will heat back up this weekend, as drivers Michael Johnson and Stephen Simpson and the Bryan Herta Autosport (BHA) team are set to compete in the Tioga Downs Casino Resort 240 at famed Watkins Glen International Speedway in western upstate New York.

The race, part of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, on the 3.4 mile, 11-corner course, is set to go green on Saturday, June 26 at 2 p.m. ET.

“I’m very excited to be back racing this weekend at Watkins Glen,” said Johnson. “The entire Bryan Herta Autosport crew have been working extremely hard in the down time we have had. This track is fast and technical, which leads to fantastic racing, especially in this four-hour race. I’m feeling really good teaming up with Stephen Simpson. Let’s go win this!”

All IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge races are streamed live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold. IMSA Radio also provides live audio coverage of select Michelin Pilot Challenge practice, qualifying sessions and full-length coverage of all races.

When last behind the wheel, at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Johnson and Simpson guided the BHA Universal Coating No. 54 Hyundai Veloster N TCR car to a 10th-place finish at the Mid-Ohio 120.

Last time out at Watkins Glen International, in July 2019, Johnson and Simpson qualified well but suffered a blown tire and its aftermath put the team out of commission for the day. Last year, Watkins Glen had all of its races canceled or moved to other tracks because of the pandemic.

“I’m excited to get back to Watkins Glen after the cancellation of the race last year,” said Simpson. “A four-hour race at Watkins Glen is tough. It’s a very high-grip track and it can certainly be hot and humid on race day. Michael and I had a very good test about a month ago at the track and we were to work on some parts of the cart, including Michael’s hand controls, which was all very good and positive. I am going into this weekend feeling prepared and am ready for a strong showing.”

Next week, Johnson, Simpson and the BHA team will return to Watkins Glen International Speedway, as the iconic track is set to host IMSA events in back-to-back weekends. The WeatherTech 240, which was originally scheduled for Canadian Tire Motorsports Park in Ontario, Canada, will be held Friday, July 2. The event was moved from because of the COVID-19 pandemic and international travel restrictions.