Cancellation of Baltimore Grand Prix may have caught IndyCar by surprise

Robert Laberge

IndyCar had made significant gains on a plan for next season’s Baltimore Grand Prix before the event was cancelled by its ownership group.

IndyCar and Andretti Sports Management may have been blindsided by those in charge of the Baltimore Grand Prix in announcing that the event would not be held next year or in 2015, according to Marshall Pruett at RACER Magazine.

J.P. Grant, whose Race On, LLC firm contacted promoters ASM to run the event starting in 2012, first announced the cancellation of the event on Friday with the Baltimore Business Journal. Based on the momentum a continuation had received up until the weekend, all signs point towards IndyCar being caught off guard by Grant's decision.

Andretti Sports Management managing director Kevin Healy was confident that a new date, prior to Labor Day weekend would be secured for the Baltimore Grand Prix when he spoke to RACER on Sept. 6 something appeared to have changed between the city and event owner prior to the weekend.

That something appears to have been the lack of a title sponsor.

"Right now, without a sponsor, it would be hard to confirm a date for 2015," Kevin Harris, spokesperson for the Baltimore mayoral office confirmed.

The loss of the event is a major blow to IndyCar on a variety of different levels. The area in which the Street course was constructed is one of the more picturesque in IndyCar history, located near Camden Yards, home of the Baltimore Orioles.

The race was the only one IndyCar had on the eastern seaboard and it drew its largest (paying) crowd to date attracting over 150,000 fans over three days. The economic impact was estimated at just over $40 million dollars last year and the number is expecting to increase when the 2013 figures are released next week.

But most importantly, it becomes another popular race lost for IndyCar which has also recently failed to come to terms with Milwaukee (later regained), New Hampshire, Kentucky and Chicagoland. IndyCar is expected to announce a race on the road course at Indianapolis for next season before the end of this season but it won't make up for losing its grip on the Baltimore market.

Mark Miles, the CEO of IndyCar's parent organization, Hulman & Co. has said that he expects the complete 2014 schedule to come out at some point prior to the end of ongoing season.

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