A five week lull between races on the track offered up news off the track when rumors surfaced that the Brazil race in Sao Paulo may not happen next year. However, that storyline was trumped when the owners of the Baltimore Grand Prix informed all concerned that there won’t be a race in 2014 or 2015 and that for all intents and purposes, there will be no more Baltimore Grand Prix (source: Baltimore Sun).
The Brazilian connection is real and having a race in the South American country is vital for native drivers from that region who rely in-part on sponsorship from companies in Brazil – but nothing is set in concrete yet that the Sao Paulo street event won’t happen. Even so, the impact of losing a race where teams have to traipse over 10,000 round-trip miles to get to may not offer as huge a negative impact as the Baltimore race will.
The shame of losing Baltimore is that the event has increased in popularity every year and brought in record attendance with some 150,000 fans to the three-day extravaganza this past Labor Day weekend. Plus, having a race in Baltimore gave the IZOD IndyCar Series exposure in the Mid-Atlantic States which they didn’t have before.
It takes time for these street races to develop and after three years, it appeared the Grand Prix of Baltimore event had finally found itself as a legitimate race with popularity and a growing fan base. However, according to the owners of the event, they needed a title sponsor and without one, they couldn’t continue. Already, the race had to be moved to another date.
Nevertheless, Andretti Sports Management, the promotion arm of the event, seemed to be taken by surprise with the announcement that the event wouldn’t happen. The city wanted a sponsor to confirm the date and that wasn’t possible at this time. There has always been some local opposition to the race as wasteful and unnecessary use of taxpayer time and money. Still the mayor and most within the city management wanted the event even though it had problems in the early stages.
Excellent news for IndyCar this week was that Juan Pablo Montoya is coming back from NASCAR to open wheel racing to drive a third car at Penske Racing. On the flip-side, it might be noted that this year’s Indy 500 winner Tony Kanaan is looking into NASCAR for a ride.
However, the loss of possibly two events on the circuit can’t be making the folks in Indianapolis too happy. If indeed they add the road course at Indy to take the place of the Sao Paulo date (see related articles), that will help but there’s no sugar-coating the loss of Baltimore from the schedule. IndyCar says a complete 2014 calendar of events will be coming soon and announced prior to the end of this season.