Baltimore Grand Prix Organizers Behind Schedule For Labor Day IndyCar Race
The second Izod IndyCar Series Baltimore Grand Prix is less than five months away, and race organizers have "yet to sign key agreements, land sponsorship deals, launch a marketing campaign or start selling tickets," according to Scharper & Broadwater of the Baltimore SUN. Downforce Racing has "not fulfilled three of five benchmarks that its contract with the city required to be done" three weeks ago. The new race organizer "finds itself further behind than its predecessors were last year." Despite the delays, Downforce execs and city officials have said that they are "confident that preparations are on track." Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's administration said it was "reasonably comfortable" with the group's progress. However, SpeedTV.com columnist Robin Miller said, "It would concern me that you don't have a sponsor six months out. Street races live and die and are made and broken by sponsorships." Downforce's contract with the city, which was signed in mid-February, "specified that it would meet five benchmarks by March 15: entering into a ticket escrow agreement with the city, settling on a method of monthly financial reports, signing a sanctioning agreement with Indycar, signing an agreement with the Maryland Stadium Authority and identifying necessary road repairs." But Downforce has twice "delayed the start of ticket sales." Most recently, the group announced on its Facebook page that tickets would "go on sale within the next 30 days." Rawlings-Blake's office said that Downforce was "close to completing the agreement with Indycar and that the agreements with the Stadium Authority and the ticket escrow deal lacked only the signatures of Downforce managers." Downforce Partner Daniel Reck said that the group was "waiting to promote the race until sales began" (Baltimore SUN, 4/5).