Baltimore terminates Grand Prix contract

BALTIMORE -  

The ear-piercing sound of Indy cars lured more than 100,000 people to Baltimore for the city's first ever street race.  Even after a year of dealing with road construction and closures, fans said the excitement on Labor Day weekend was worth those headaches.

They thought the races would be in gear for fives years.  The city had a contract with Baltimore Racing Development, but as of Friday Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced the agreement is terminated after the BRD failed to pay $1.5 million it owes the city. 

In a statement, she said "...BRD's corporate officers and managers have failed to take the appropriate steps to put the company on a sustainable path forward."

But when the event was announced in June 2010, the mayor made big promises.

"This event will be a game changer for Baltimore," she said.    

It was for Regi's in Federal Hill.  The news of a terminated contract traveled as fast as the race cars.

"Unless there's another vehicle to fill that void during that week, you can't come close to doing that kind of business that we did for the Grand Prix," said Alan Morstein, owner, Regi's.    

David Troy questioned the stability of BRD pretty early.  He sued the city after learning more than 135 trees would be cut down for the race.

"I didn't feel like they had their game together.  Speaking with them in late July, early August, what I learned very quickly is no one seemed to be in charge.  Their finances seemed to be on fairly shaky ground," said Troy. 

Replacing those trees remains as uncertain as the race that brought in $47 million.

"It's January as of two days from now and trying to get an event that big pulled off and coordinated by September seems like it might not be possible," said Troy.l    

The city now has a right to reach out to other organizations to bring motorsports to Baltimore.  But a lawsuit may come well before race cars around Inner Harbor next year. 

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