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Baltimore IndyCar Event Shifts To Labor Day Weekend Next Year

Baltimore Grand Prix Shifts Dates From
August To Labor Day Weekend

Baltimore city officials and organizers of the Izod IndyCar Series Baltimore Grand Prix have moved the inaugural race to the "long Labor Day weekend next year," according to Julie Scharper of the Baltimore SUN. The officials said that the date will "draw larger crowds and cause fewer hassles than the August date for which the event was originally planned." City officials "signed a deal in the spring with the Indy Racing League to host the Grand Prix for five years, but there is no guarantee the festival will continue to be held over the Labor Day weekend." Meanwhile, organizers of the road race also have "changed the race course, which now runs around rather than simply past Oriole Park at Camden Yards; introduced a pit area outside the baseball stadium and moved the paddock area indoors." The pit row "will now run along the east side of Camden Yards, highlighting the historic B&O Warehouse in television coverage." Scharper notes officials also "shortened the course and cut out a hairpin turn that would have veered near M&T Bank Stadium, reducing concerns that race preparations would have interfered with traffic for the Ravens' final preseason game, scheduled for the evening before the race kicks off." City officials said that the shorter course "will save the city about $2 million in road construction costs." Baltimore Racing Development President Jay Davidson added that BRD's team of local investors is "negotiating deals with corporate sponsors" for the race and is "looking to land a second race, the American Le Mans Series" (Baltimore SUN, 8/17). Race organizers also "plan for a 'weekend of speed' with concerts in addition to the race" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/16).

FUTURE GROWTH: IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said the league would "love to" add new tracks to the schedule, including Phoenix and Las Vegas, but that he is "going to kind of keep it a secret" concerning future additional stops. IndyCar has 17 races this season, but Bernard said in "five years, if we can grow the sport and grow the fan base, we should be 20-24 races" ("IndyCar Mid-Season Review," Versus, 8/14).

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