Austin > Baltimore

Not too long after many of us enjoyed the Grand Prix action on the streets of Baltimore, we learned that we must look forward to only our memories.  Due to what was widely broadcast as scheduling conflicts, the earliest the GP could return would be 2016 but most likely, its gone for much longer.

Millions were spent.  Millions were generated.  Some businesses loved it.  Some businesses hated it.  New city race courses are bound to build up hopes and wallets as well as break hearts and bank accounts.  New city race courses are loud experiments… before, during and after the race.  There’s so much fascination and so much frustration.   

The ‘loud, unpredictable and progressive’ city race and the comparatively ‘quiet, predictable and traditional’ convention and sporting event alike fill the city’s coffers.  You can guess which one is more like a Las Vegas gamble.  Unfortunately, our shot to enjoy the sport we love – right in our backyard – and our shot to pass that love onto the next generation degenerated into a wide pit of strong opinions formed, in grand proportion, by the city's mismanagement and lack of commitment to the present and future events.  

The event never existed as a healthy, integrated part of the city.  Turning on the news and hearing about traffic disasters and stories about the surrounding businesses losing out during Labor Day weekend set the tone for a high percentage of Baltimorians that could have used some convincing.  In the weeks approaching this year's event, many fans already knew that it was all over.  3 and out is never good for the home team.

This Sunday, we can watch the folks in Texas do it right.  Its the Circuit of the Americas.  It’s a beautiful course.  Austin’s United States Grand Prix has grand acceptance.  Even the drivers love it.  Its one of America’s shining examples of how to get it done right.  Sure, there have been bumps for Austin but every new construction project and event has finance, community relations and timeline bumps.  Austin has been given a great opportunity to succeed and it looks like its here to stay.  

Maybe the plan for Baltimore should be to get the GP – if it ever comes back – out of the city.  Does anyone have 900 acres in the country?  I, like so many in our community, are sad to see the GP of Baltimore fade into the sunset.  Darn it, it felt good to vent.  Now, who the heck scheduled the United States Grand Prix at the same time as a Ravens game? [insert smile]

Richard Williams