SBD/August 28, 2014/Events and Attractions

IndyCar Sets April Race Date For Grand Prix Of Louisiana In New Orleans

New Orleans' race will be the same weekend as the French Quarter Festival
Louisiana Lieutenant Gov. Jay Dardenne yesterday "officially announced April 10-12, 2015 as the dates for the three-day festival" surrounding the Verizon IndyCar Series Grand Prix of Louisiana, with the race "capping off the festivities on Sunday, April 12," according to Andrew Lopez of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. The race date will "allow the race to avoid conflicting" with the Crescent City Classic 10K road race, to be held on April 4 next year, and "won't be so late as to interfere with the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival either." Hulman & Co. CEO Mark Miles said, "There are limited opportunities to get into markets that have the appeal to our sponsors and our fans that New Orleans does. You have television considerations and local considerations. We wouldn't want to be here in certain weeks where other major cultural or sporting events are going on." Miles added that spring had "always been a goal for IndyCar." NOLA Motorsports Park Owner Laney Chouest said that a mid-March date "could be something to look for in the future." Lopez noted the full IndyCar schedule "has not been released yet but the Grand Prix of Louisiana figures to be the second event on the schedule, following the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg" (NOLA.com, 8/27). The AP's Brett Martell noted the New Orleans race "will take place on the same weekend as the French Quarter Festival, a popular music festival held in and around the historic neighborhood for which it is named." Miles said, "It's something that was discussed at length. All the feedback was that it would be fine and there will be ways to do some marketing together." IndyCar "has an agreement to bring races to the track for at least the next three seasons" (AP, 8/27).

DON'T CALL US, WE'LL CALL YOU: In Baltimore, Joanna Sullivan noted this will be the "first Labor Day in four years" that IndyCar has not held a street race in the city, but it seems the majority of residents "just don't care" about the loss of the event. There has been "lots of good riddance-type comments on social media," and it appears that "no one connected with the race in the past, including several local businesspeople who really talked it up back in the day, wants to discuss it." Visit Baltimore COO Tom Noonan said, "I think everybody has moved on from it" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/27).
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