Fans turning out for inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix

Practice runs draw race day crowd

BALTIMORE - The excitement surrounding Baltimore's inaugural Grand Prix reached a fervor pitch long before the first cars hit the track.

They cheered forklifts, cranes, golf carts and even a tractor trailer.

In fact, fans hungry for action even encouraged this pair of workers to run a foot race.

The same mayor who's running for re-election and has been criticized for bringing the race here is now a fan favorite on the eve of race day.

"As I walked over to the track, there are people from all over that are coming to experience Baltimore for a weekend that historically has been very slow," said Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, "so for me, this race wasn't about my race for mayor, this was about the race for Baltimore's future."

As many as 100,000 fans are expected for the series of races this weekend, and longtime Indy fan Jim O'Neal from Calvert County says he likes what he sees.

"What Baltimore has done here is amazing. They've opened up Camden Yards, Ravens Stadium, the Convention Center. It's absolutely first class."

Even two-time Indy 500 Winner Al Unser, Jr. is impressed by Charm City's reception.

"I was amazed at how many people there are today on a Friday. This is a normal day for us on race days at other racetracks. So it's the one thing I noticed and it's very exciting."

After a long wait Friday, as workers finished preparing the track for racing, fans finally got what they were waiting for, even though some young fans cupped their hands over their ears, unprepared for the roar of some of the fastest cars in the world.

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