5-29-12: A Third Try for a Second Grand Prix
The effort to save the second Grand Prix auto race in downtown Baltimore is on its third lap.
On May 16, the Baltimore City Board of Estimates voted to award the race organization contract to Race On LLC. The previous organizer, Downforce Racing, lost its contract earlier this month when it failed to meet benchmarks set by the city.
The city canceled the contract with the original race organizers, a group called Baltimore Racing Development, at the end of 2011 after it failed to pay the city a million and a half dollars in outstanding fees and taxes.
Race On is led by Greg O’Neil of BMW Construction Specialists and J.P. Grant, III, who grew up in Baltimore and has made his name financing major capital purchases for the Baltimore City government through his Columbia-based company Grant Financial Management. Grant and O’Neil are contracting the organizational aspects of the race to Andretti Sports Marketing, led by Michael Andretti, son of famous racer Mario Andretti.
Sheilah talks today with J.P. Grant and John Lopes, president of Andretti Sports Marketing.
The Baltimore Business Journal has a copy of Race On LLC’s agreement with the city.
In November, before the first contract was canceled, Sheilah spoke with Baltimore Councilman Bill Cole, whose district includes the race course.
In February, we spoke with members of Downforce Racing after they received the second contract.