As Ryan Hunter-Reay celebrated his victory at the Grand Prix of Baltimore Sunday after a wild race on the streets of Charm City, his win put him just 17 points out of first place. The Andretti Autosport driver is now in line to challenge Will Power for the driver’s championship in the season’s final race September 15 under the lights in Fontana, California.
But as a light rain began to fall on the streets of Baltimore, the team owner of the winning car, Michael Andretti, was now in race promotion mode. He and his Race On partner J.P.Grant began to talk about what they could do to improve the Baltimore race for next year.
IndyCar CEO, Randy Bernard was in town and he was very pleased with the work that Andretti Sports Marketing and the local team from Race On did to save the grand prix with only 90 days to promote the event and sell tickets.
Bernard told a press gathering on Sunday that the IndyCar 2013 schedule would be put together on or about September 20 and that would give the Andretti and Race On team about two weeks to talk with the city about any issues that might keep the race off the schedule.
These quotes from the Baltimore Sun:
"I'm very tickled with the way it's going," Bernard said during a meeting with a small gathering of media Sunday morning. "The Andretti group has done a good job organizing the event and J.P. Grant has stepped up. All the venders have been taken care of, eliminating any embarrassment.”
As to the future of the race in Baltimore the IndyCar CEO had this to say to the press:
"I want one announcement for the schedule," he said. "As for Baltimore, I had a very good conversation with J.P. [Grant.] He's been a huge supporter of this race and wants it to work for the city. He definitely would like to see it back on the series schedule."
That said Grant, Andretti and Bernard remain optimistic that Baltimore has earned a spot on the IndyCar schedule as the series key east coast destination. One that gives them the all-important access to race fans from New York to Washington, D.C. as well as the welcome media coverage that comes with a race in the mid-Atlantic region.
While the crowds were good, they were not as big as last year’s estimated 150,000 people who attended the first ever race in Charm City. Race promoters have yet to announce any crowd estimates and unlike last year’s warm and sunny weather, this year both Saturday and Sunday saw on-and-off rain that may have had an effect on the size of the crowds.
The bottom line is that IndyCar wants this race to survive and they feel that in the hands of Andretti and Grant,their chances of another Labor Day weekend in Baltimore in 2013 are very good.
According to the Baltimore Business Journal Tim Mayer, general manager of the Grand Prix of Baltimore was already talking about the 2013 race and landing a title sponsor. So as we put a close on the Baltimore race there seems be a far better chance that come September 20 it will be on the 2013 IndyCar schedule and without the drama leading up to the 2012 race.