BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Saving the Baltimore Grand Prix. The city finds new leadership to bring racing back to Baltimore in an 11th hour deal. Now downtown businesses are breathing a sigh of relief.

Weijia Jiang explains what the deal means for the city.

“It put us on the map all over,” said Giannina Chiddo.

As thrilling as it was, the Baltimore Grand Prix gained infamy as a financial debacle. Inaugural organizers still owe millions in unpaid taxes and vendor bills. But the race turned a new corner when the city unveiled a contract with a new team of managers called Downforce Racing.

“What we saw last year was basically finding the diamond in the rough. We have a real opportunity to polish that diamond up and really make Baltimore shine next year,” said Dale Dillon, Downforce Racing.

Downtown business owners are relieved to hear about the deal. They say Labor Day weekend is usually very slow but the race changed that.

“This is one of those marquis events. It’s iconic. It celebrates Baltimore and attracts a lot of people from a lot of different areas,” said Sergio Vitale, Aldo’s.

For restauranteurs like Vitale, that means more dinner tabs to ring up. For hotels, more beds to fill.

“If the event didn’t happen, you would look and say, `What do we have to draw people?’ It would have left a great big hole on the calendar so it’s great to have it back,” said Larry Noto, Harbor Magic Hotels.

And this time, monetary safeguards are in place. The city will closely inspect Downforce’s finances.

And locals look forward to a smoother ride.

“You had a full house down there last year, you’ll do it again. It’ll just be run differently. Hopefully everyone will be paid and make money,” said Vince Pompa.

The contract could still be tweaked. It’s pending approval by the city’s Board of Estimates. Members are expected to vote next week.

The comptroller is working to recover unpaid money from last year’s organizers, Baltimore Racing Development.

Comments (6)
  1. Debbie says:

    All we can hope for now is that the Board of Estimates has more sense than the mayor.
    To keep oushing something that the majority of residents do not want is so typical of our leaders.

    1. Stan says:

      Right on! I’ve yet to meet a person at my work near the Inner Harbor, who liked last year’s GP.

      1. Dr J says:

        Buhhooooo cry me a river, as if you nonces down in the inner habour are the ones that make Baltimore and Maryland. if you don’t like it resign and get a job in Boringville. Now shut up and pee off whinny girl.

  2. John S says:

    Debbie, with that attitude we wouldn’t have the Inner Harbor, the Preakness, the Orioles or the Ravens. I say make it bigger and better. Noe everything can be measured in dollars and sense.

  3. Ernie says:

    Well said John S

  4. Terrence Nelson says:

    This was a horrible idea in the first place…i dont see a lot of citizens or businesses being lined up for an even bigger failure than before

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