Saturday, May 12, 2012

Andretti Takes the Wheel!

As many know, the Baltimore Grand Prix experienced a rather extended pit stop when the wheels came off last year.  So it came as a great surprise -- and even greater thrill -- to learn that a big name in the sport grabbed the controls and got the race back in gear.

Michael Andretti, scion of racing family patriarch Mario, father of current standard bearer Marco, has accepted the challenge.  His event management operation, Andretti Sports Marketing, is taking responsibility for logistics, promoting, community outreach, course construction and race operations.

It's a good thing the speed gene is part of the family DNA, because all this has to transpire within three months, when construction of the track begins.

We aren't the only ones relieved and gratified there's a new foot on the accelerator.  While having a 2012 race follow up the wildly successful (in most ways) inaugural event is important to City coffers, it is also crucial to the IndyCar league.

The Baltimore event was huge for the new league last year.  The attendance far exceeded expections, the Mid-Atlantic location was perfect for growing the East Coast fan base, and the drivers themselves loved the course and crowd response. 

(That's Marco zooming past Turn Ten)

With 2012 already on the schedule and commitments to sponsors needing to be met, IndyCar wants this race to happen as much as anyone here.

Camden Yards is not a big player in these arrangements.  After making initial modifications to accommodate pit lane and the VIP viewing area last year, our role is simply that of facility manager.  We rent the lots where the pits are located and many of the activities (including the ALMS paddock and car corral) are staged.

Still, this weekend event offers entertainment to Maryland residents and visitors and economic opportunities for the local business community.  That's a big part of our mission.

The next few months around here are bound to be turbo-charged with activities.  It's particularly exciting for Bin 400, Warehouse B, as we enjoy a splendid view of the pit and stretch down Conway (in air-conditioned comfort, I might add.)

In boca al lupo, Michael.  No matter what Donald Trump says, the racing world thinks you're the man for the job.

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