ISC has finally thrown in the towel.
They've raised the white flag. The big bad giant lost, brought to
their knees by little David. Tuesday, ISC's team of lawyers (ISC owns
nearby Homestead Raceway and were trying to kill the downtown Miami race to
protect their turf) called and said they give up trying to stop this
weekends CART/ALMS/Trans-Am race in the streets of Miami. They
exhausted every possible legal avenue available to them up to the last
possible moment, seeking injunction after injunction in the waning hours.
But in the end, good won out over bad. Nothing but Mother Nature
(Hurricane Lili) can stop this weekends races from happening.
This has been one of the ugliest battles in the
history of motorsports. I wrote in this article back in March titled,
ISC, making enemies in Miami, about
some of the history up until that time about ISC's political shenanigans.
And this article by Commando Cody, which I strongly recommend you take the
time to read, called
Taking it to the streets, why Miami is a war zone, explains why
Miami was a battle between the oval track Cartel headquartered in Daytona
and Indianapolis, and the road racing crowd represented by CART and ALMS.
Cody wrote, What makes the situation in Miami so
noteworthy is the fact that the ALMS, Trans-Am, and CART all have powerful
friends among the movers and shakers of the city of Miami. It's remarkable
that ISC chose to attack them there. For one thing it is an open declaration
of "total war", meaning that ISC is signaling that it will settle for
nothing less than complete victory -- no "peaceful co-existence" being
possible. Secondly, it is a test of ISC's might. To paraphrase the song: "If
they can do it there, they can do it anywhere." Well guess what, they
got their head handed to them in a platter and it's on its way back north to
ISC, hiding behind Homestead-Miami Speedway
LLC, which it owns, has done everything in their power to stop
the Miami street race, including making contradicting public
statements. They have written legal letters to create
bad publicity around the event, tried to stop them from
getting building permits, opposed them getting licensure, took
out full page ads in the Miami papers denouncing the event,
and even pressured Brian Redman to not bring his historic
racing series in for the weekends events.
In deposition by Curtis Gray, President of Homestead-Miami Speedway LLC, he
admitted Homestead-Miami Speedway LLC paid for several advertisements
arguing against racing in the streets of the City of Miami, saying "street
races are financial failures."
Yanowitch, the David who slew Goliath
A lot of credit has to go to Peter Yanowitch, an
attorney, and owner of Raceworks, co-promoter for this weekends event with
CART (the controlling interest in race promoter Raceworks was sold to CART,
which is now the primary promoter for the event). He was one
attorney up against a slew of five ISC attorneys who were paid some $300,000
per month to fight for ISC to kill this race. Peter is the 'David,'
who slew the team (Giant) of ISC lawyers. In some respects, CART, ALMS
and Trans-Am are also David's against the giant NASCAR cartel.
Some credit must also go to the crafty Chris Pook and Don Panoz who
certainly had some hand in tripping up the giant.
The giant tried everything imaginable over the
last two years, but on Tuesday, he gave up the ghost. As AR1 reported
in recent weeks, even volunteers were discouraged from helping out in Miami,
and as the two article above point out, the giant tried every legal maneuver
in its legal arsenal, but found out whereas they have power in northern
Florida, in Miami they were no match for 'David.'
One argument ISC used in trying to kill the race
was that the area of Miami-Dade County could not support two races, one in
Homestead at ISC's track and this one in Miami. That's like saying
Miami can't support both the Miami Dolphins football team and the University
of Miami football team. Miami is a big city. It most certainly
can support two race events/facilities.
Miami Mayor Manny Diaz was highly upset with
ISC's shenanigans and vowed
"This race started in downtown Miami [as the Grand Prix of Miami]; this race
belongs in downtown Miami, and this race will run in downtown Miami."
Fittipaldi (L), Peter Yanowitch (C) and Willy Bermello
And run it will.
Grand Prix of the Americas President Chuck M. Martinez said plans are on
track and organizers expect crowds of at least 100,000 for the three-day
event. The Grand Prix has attracted high-brow sponsors from Cadillac
to Lalique to Mumm champagne. Grand Prix Americas President Chuck M.
Martinez said last week that the upper-level grandstand seats and a dozen
hospitality chalets along the racecourse are sold out, and only a couple of
the 47 suites are still available.
Downtown Miami and its Bayfront Park locale are very picturesque and
tourist-friendly, and the cultural makeup of the south Florida area is
incredibly diverse, making for what would seem to be an ideal climate for
success. Friday through Sunday, auto-racing returns to the streets of
Miami for the first time in seven years, in the Grand Prix Americas, a
triple-header of racing -- a made-for-Miami event -- complete with a
Biscayne Bay view, concerts and, of course, champagne.
After what David had to go through to slay the Giant the past
two years, you can bet the bubbly will be flowing heavily on Sunday.....and
it will most certainly taste extra sweet.
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