Baltimore Mayor ecstatic about race turnout UPDATE #2
Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake — ensnared in a campaign to maintain her post — was mum on Sunday afternoon on changes the city would make next year to the Baltimore Grand Prix, but said she was "very, very proud."
|The crowd was so big getting around the track was difficult|
In an interview during the closing moments of the inaugural open-wheel street race through the city's downtown streets, Rawlings-Blake said there were no major event-related incidents reported except for "a few rowdy people."
She said she was looking forward to doing a post-incident analysis in order to improve the event next year.
"We learn from every event to make sure we're more prepared the next time," said Rawlings-Blake, who has supported the event since it was floated more than two years ago. "We'll be doing a thorough analysis."
The mayor said he was pleased at the crowds she saw as she came to the event earlier this weekend. Race officials have yet to disclosed specific attendance numbers, but more than 100,000 fans were expected to descend this weekend on the 2.1-mile Inner Harbor course.
"When I came out on Friday and saw so many families — racially diverse, economically diverse," she said, "I was so so proud to host something that makes memories for so many families."
To her challengers in the upcoming Democratic primary, many of whom have taken opposing stances to the Grand Prix, Rawlings-Blake said some of them use it as an opportunity to try and get an edge on her.
"I never made this to make myself great," she said. "I made this to shine a spotlight on my city, and that's what happened."
Rawlings-Blake said for businesses, the event was a good thing.
"This is return business for years to come," she said.
She said the people she spoke to from the American Le Mans Series American Le Mans Series and IndyCar spoke highly of the event.
When asked if she saw the event coming back for the next four years — the duration of its contract between IndyCar and Baltimore Racing Development LLC — the organizers behind the event, Rawlings-Blake simply said "yes." Baltimore Business Journal09/04/11
BALTIMORE MAYOR STEPHANIE RAWLINGS BLAKE: "We had an opportunity with INDYCAR's help, to shine on an international stage. So many people who when we had traffic problems or parking problems or any delay, the naysayers had their day until the race started. And I want to thank everyone involved who helped quiet the naysayers. It was a fantastic event that brought in people from all over the country and internationally to enjoy this race. It was an exciting race, it was a challenging course, and I invite you all back for next year."
RANDY BERNARD, INDYCAR CEO (ABOUT THE INAUGURAL BALTIMORE GRAND PRIX): " I'd like to thank the entire city of Baltimore for their patience as we staged our event on the downtown streets and for the hospitality they showed to our fans and the entire racing community. They really showcased what makes Baltimore such a great city to an international audience. I'd like to thank the Mayor for her vision, Councilman Cole for his determination and Baltimore Racing Development for putting on such a great event. And a special thanks to the police department, fire department, EMTs and the volunteers. Today’s' race had something for everyone and featured all the elements that make up a marquee event."
[Editor's Note: Wasn't this type of event what CART was all about? But no, Tony George and his minions had to split the sport and drag it down into the gutter for over 10 years. Now we are 25% back to where CART was before George destroyed it.] 09/04/11 Baltimore, Maryland Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was ecstatic about the outcome of the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix weekend. "I am so happy that we had the opportunity to host this event. The naysayers against this event had their say, but once the race started the naysayers were silenced.
"I took this race as an opportunity for Baltimore to shine. It was never about me and my re-election, it was always about showing what the City of Baltimore's future can be.
"This is such a fan friendly event and my daughter was proud to show off her city to her friends.
"I am proud to be a part of this great event," said Rawlings-Blake, and turning to race winner Will Power she said, "You guys are definitely invited back, thank you."
She went on to say that she wants to keep this event on the Labor Day weekend. "This normally is the last weekend of the summer for folks to go to the beach, and the fact so many people turned up in Baltimore from across the country is a fantastic thing for the city."