Baltimore’s First Grand Prix Considered A Success

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Celebrating a successful run. After a weekend of racing fun, the Baltimore Grand Prix is now in the books. Now crews are working to get the city back on the normal track.

Derek Valcourt takes us inside the Grand Prix breakdown.

What was a Grand Prix racecourse now gets the green light for regular traffic as city workers rush to reopen downtown streets that were closed to make room for a two and a half mile high-speed race course that brought out tens of thousands of race fans like Heather Boulanger.

“I did spend some money, yes,” Boulanger said.

She’s not alone. Early estimates indicate the Grand Prix raked in some $70 million over the weekend, much of it pumped into local hotels and restaurants, like the Pratt Street Ale House, where managers say their front row view along the race course kept the restaurant and patio packed all weekend.

“Labor Day weekend is not one we normally look forward to for us in the restaurant business downtown. This was one for the books; this was a good one,” said Greg Keating, Pratt Street Ale House.

Good for Baltimore tourism, too. Racing fans came from around the world and many, like Christie Sadiq, left with good impressions.

“First time to Baltimore. We thought it was great. The harbor is beautiful,” Sadiq said.

“As far as attendance, as far as participation, it’s one of the best events I’ve ever been to,” said Grand Prix General Manager Dale Dillon.

Dillon says Baltimore stands above other cities that have hosted similar races.

“When you go to the other events, you’re either on the edge or out of the main thrust of downtown. Here, you’re in the heart of the city and I think it contributed to the excitement and the interest and the citizens came through,” Dillon said.

Now comes the messy business of breaking down what took weeks to build up, with city crews racing to reopen downtown.

“Taking advantage of the fact that today is a holiday, not as much traffic, so we can have the roads open for tomorrow’s commute,” said Adrienne Barnes, Department of Transportation.

Officials plan a news conference for later this week to release more details on crowd estimates and the economic impact of the race.

More from Derek Valcourt
  • John Elder

    Who cares for those of us that have to work down there in that mess it sucks. Car raceing has a place and its not closing down our towns and making people that work down there have to go through what some had to. I called off and next yr I will do the same but hopfully I will not be living in Maryland at that time and want have to worry abuot that stuff. To the Mayor you sure the hell dont get my vote and anyone who is for closing our town down for car racing through the streets NO VOTE from me

    • matt deba

      only people complaining are those who couldnt go. stop hating, and appreciate the fact that baltimore was in the internation lime light for somthing positive instead of just another murder town

    • Proud of Baltimore

      @John, just leave quietly so we don’t have to hear your continuous complaining anymore! Baltimore and Maryland will be a better place once you’re gone.

      This event was a daring move on the Mayor’s part and in my opinion payed off big time!

      Do you really think SRB is worried about your vote?

      People like you, Mr Elder are the problem not part of the solution. Your departure will go unnoticed!

    • Mike Frainie

      Gee, John, thanks for being such a “team player”. We really appreciate it!

  • Beth

    I thought it was very cool to have the race. They could have put up more TV”s and the sound system could have been better. Other then that I can’t wait to see it again next year. Hopefully there will be some improvements to come. only the future we will see.

    • truthteller

      maby next year we can have a larger track. all we have to do is close more rec centers,fire houses and lay off more city workers.YES,we have our prioritys straight.

  • kidneydoc

    I believe the Baltimore Grand Prix was a positive for the city, however, the city and it’s elected officials must take into consideration that the city residents are inconvenienced greatly by the the road closures and the months long massive traffic bakcups leading up to the race. They must compensate the residents by contributing to the improvements to the affected areas and by lowering the highest property taxes in the state of Mayland, which is twice that of the surronding counties. If these issues are addressed, then I look forward to 2012 Baltimore Grand Prix.


      @analdoc err I mean kidneydoc. If you had common sense and heeded the messages of anticipated delays you should have figured out an alternative route if you even drive this area daily. That is what I did and wasn’t dumb enough to drive by road side signs stating DELAYS AHEAD.

      The road improvements needed are completed and next years event will not require as much long term closures, repairs or set-up time.

      Big time events like the BGP promoted our city 10 to 20 fold and the dividends will follow.

      Doc, don’t hold your breath waiting for a compensation check (or maybe YOU should) I haven’t received one from any of the Ravens, Oriole games or Preakness.

  • John Elder is a Hater

    I will be there again next year and John if I wanted to hear a A-Hold I’d fart

  • not a friend of Johns

    i hope next year we do it again down-town, but on differt streets. God knows they could sure use some fixing up.

  • Joe

    It was a great event, and great for the city. It brought in $70M to OUR city. What was really great to hear is all the positive comments from the racers and race officials. You will always have naysayers and pessimistic people (like John above) but you have to ignore that “noise”.

  • matt deba

    on a side note, it was the best damned investment for a 3 day weekend i ever made in my life. it gave me a reason to come downtown, instead of going to the aquarium which is probably over priced, (not sure, i havent been there since i was in elementary school). now for baltimore to be a true racing city, we need to host a night race. call it, “The Baltimore Grand Prix – Harbor Lights”

  • Sharon Mather Leuschner

    Awesome event! I was there all three days and had the very BEST time! There may have been some traffic headaches but they were posted and people knew for sometime. My daughter in law who commutes to the city for her job and didn’t seem too troubled by it. It was a win win situation for both the city, state and neighboring counties. I belong to a cruising website and people were looking for rooms so they could take the Pride out of Baltimore and the closest rooms I was able to find for them was near Arundel Mills and that was about five months ago. Who knows what happened after that time. This was absolutely such a positive thing and one of the best things to happen to Baltimore in years! What a wonderful three days!

  • Hoping the city does what is right

    I had both experiences. I work downtown and I must say it WAS a major headache getting to and from the area because I live south of downtown. I tried driving and the lightrail and it was pretty awful. I also attending the Grand Prix for two days and I really enjoyed myself. I am all for these type of events because it generates so much revenue. I am just hoping that the services and communities (schools, social programs, etc.) totally benefit from this event. This is a perfect opportunity to get ahead for our Baltimore communities and not concentrate totally on tourism! Good luck to us!

  • Reality 101

    NOW Next year lets have it in the real baltimore city, not the pretty, perfect, clean downtown, lets have it cross MLK Blvd and enter the Gehtto, go down some gehtto streets, show the blocks of boarded up rowhomes and gehtto liquor stores.
    Lets show the world the REAL Baltimore CIty.


      These areas will not support the crowds, transportation and safety needed for an event of this magnitude.

      I realize you’re just being an A$$ hole and have probably never been to these run down areas. People reap what they sow. If you think some government official is going to show up at your door and save you from living in the Ghetto, think again. YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN IMPROVE YOUR PLIGHT IN LIFE.

      It didn’t take 6 months for these uncivilized areas to get the way they are and numerous improvement attempts have been made.

      I’m proud of my Baltimore. I keep my sidewalk clean, cut my lawn and support plenty of these city wide initiatives.


      • LOL

        I could see it now, racing over MLK Blvd, the crest in the middle of the intersection would be great, then go thru West Baltimore, that would be scenic for the world and the streets need major repairs over there! Think what you want, it was a crock that the wold didn’t see the REAL BALTIMORE CITY! Lucky for me I don’t live in the Gehtto, but saddly, may good people are trapped in a gehtto that the thugs and criminals run and have no avenue of escape.

    • T

      Uh, it’s spelled GHETTO. This site underlines what is spelled wrong in your post. Pay attention and maybe what you say will hold some weight.

      Or not, because, well, you’re wrong.

  • RayMay

    Would have been better if the Baltimore City Police did a better job conducting traffic during the week of commuting to and from work at the Wash.Blvd.and MLK Blvd intersections.What a nightmare!! !Even with that said NASCAR would have blown this event two fold.But NASCAR has their own dedicated tracks so they don’t inconvenience motorists that have to go to work or live in that area.All told Baltimore got some exposure as did Oriole Park but, Baltimore City needs to work out it’s kinks for the future.

  • Yankees

    baltimore is a dumpster with a zip code, we are lucky nothing bad happened.

    “Our race leader just ran over a bum with a newspaper and windex bottle!”

  • Is the Baltimore Grand Prix Not as Good as Advertised? – a Fan’s Analysis | Money Expert Portal

    […] audience was a large doubt though there were fans galore. Said Grand Prix General Manager Dale Dillon: “As distant as attendance, as distant as participation, it’s one of a best events […]

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