Road Closures Begin For Grand Prix; Scheduling Conflicts May Put Next Year In Jeopardy
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Grand Prix of Baltimore is getting ready to roar in for Labor Day weekend and final preparations are underway. But there are fears that this year could be the last for the popular race weekend.
Kai Jackson has more.
While the focus is on this year’s race, others are worried whether the race will return.
When the Grand Prix came to Baltimore two years ago, it was viewed as a marquee event, an international race that gave the city a new level of clout and visibility.
“There’s not many cities in the U.S. that have it, so all the better reason to have it in Baltimore, I think,” said Tylor Swenor.
As the city starts closing roads in preparation for the Labor Day weekend race, there are concerns that this could be the final lap for the event.
“We’re a victim of the city’s success,” said Grand Prix of Baltimore General Manager Tim Mayer.
Scheduling conflicts with other city events for the next two years and moderate popularity have some spectators worried the Grand Prix won’t return.
The general manager of the Rusty Scupper restaurant downtown hopes the race returns.
“Other things happening in the city could possibly prevent the Grand Prix from coming back, but either way, it’s extra people in the city and it’s extra business for us and we’re looking forward to it,” said Ed Prutzer.
If the Grand Prix doesn’t return to Baltimore, supporters believe it will be a big loss for the city.
Labor Day weekend 2014 brings the Navy/Ohio State football game to Baltimore and in 2015, the American Legion Convention is in Charm City.
Race organizer J.P. Grant isn’t concerned.
“We have a contract that runs through 2016. We feel confident where we are right now and we want to execute next year and the years after that,” said Grant.
Observers say another factor hurting the event is that IndyCar racing is not as popular as it once was.