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DATE News (chronologically)
02/16/12
irl
IndyCar CEO says Baltimore's Grand Prix will succeed
IndyCar has put their trust in new Race Promoter Dale Dillon (above)
The head of IndyCar racing came to Baltimore Thursday and assured the city's residents that this September's grand prix race would not end up in financial ruin as last year's did.

"There's no room for errors. We have to be successful and the promoter has to be successful," IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard said at the Intercontinental Harbor Court Hotel before showing off the cars and new technologies that would be used in the Labor Day race.

"They feel the pressure," Bernard said. "There needs to be pressure on everyone. We owe it to the City of Baltimore. We owe it to the residents of Baltimore."

Bernard was joined by Dale Dillon, one of the organizers of the coming race, IZOD IndyCar driver Simona De Silvestro and sponsors Entergy Nuclear CEO John Herron and Intercontinental Harbor Court General Manager Arpad Romandy.

"It's very important to be coming back," Bernard said. "This event had a tremendous crowd last year. It was an exciting race course. It's a beautiful city. It has every element IndyCar wanted, that resonates a great race. It's very important to keep a great race, and we really believe it can become a staple in our series and be one of our top events every year."

City officials on Wednesday unveiled a contract with a new group, Downforce Racing, composed of an Indianapolis contractor and two former Constellation Energy Group executives. Downforce is headed by building contractor Dale Dillon, who is credited by city officials with pulling off the 2011 race as its organizer, Baltimore Racing Development, struggled with leadership issues. The city ended the company's contract in December.

The contract with Downforce Racing is to be presented to the Board of Estimates for a vote next week. The mayor controls three of the five votes on that panel.

Baltimore Racing Development ran up an estimated $12 million in debts, including more than $1.5 million in city taxes and fees, in putting on last year's inaugural racing festival. Several private vendors as well as city and state agencies are among the creditors who have yet to be paid. The new contract does not require Downforce Racing to pay its predecessor's debts.

"I think we've been able to learn a lot already," Bernard said of the last race. "We can dwell on the negative or we can focus on the future and work to make this the best event in the world." Baltimore Sun

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