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Inaugural Grand Prix Winner Crowned

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Derek Valcourt 370x278 Derek Valcourt
Derek Valcourt began working at WJZ in September 2002. His first major...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore Grand Prix crowns a winner. After a weekend full of racing excitement, Will Power crossed the finish line first.

Derek Valcourt spoke with fans.

The speeds were fast, the noise was deafening and the crowds were huge. Baltimore’s first Grand Prix is considered a success and it ended Sunday with the main attraction of the three-day event: the IndyCar race.

“The speed, the camaraderie of the drivers, the race teams, the noise—I love it,” said one man.

At speeds near 180 miles an hour, drivers raced 75 laps through a special course on downtown city streets. Fans lined up the whole way for a glimpse.

“They’re racing from Camden Yards to the Inner Harbor, jewels of the city. It’s a great idea. They’ve got to be raking in money; look at all the people here,” said one man.

Money is the name of the game and part of the reason why the city wanted to host the Grand Prix. It’s a boost for the local economy and an attraction drawing tourists from all over the world.

The size of the crowds impressed race winner Will Power.

“When I was on my warm down lap after I won the race, I looked around. Every single stand was full, and as you work your way through the paddock, it was people everywhere so I’d say it was the best street race we’ve had all year,” Power said.

People perched high to find the best view of the deafening race. For most, ear protection was the order of the day.

“It’s not so loud up in the grandstand. It’s loud down here on the street level because of the echo from the buildings but when you are up in your seat, it’s awesome,” said Marcella Bonner.

And with that kind of praise, many here are already anticipating the Grand Prix’s return next year.

“Can’t wait for them to do it again,” said one.

Now the process of breaking it all down begins. This is not going to happen overnight. It will probably take several days. Baltimore officials hope to have most of it done by Tuesday.

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