Grand Prix Of Baltimore - Day 3

Grand Prix of Baltimore off for 2014, possibly 2015 (UPDATED)


Citing a lack of a feasible date, Grand Prix of Baltimore official race organizers said they have canceled the race for 2014 and 2015, according to a report in the Baltimore Business Journal.

“Race On will not be able to participate in hosting the race going forward,” said J.P. Grant, a partner in Race On LLC. “Everyone involved in this matter has worked diligently and of good faith to make it happen. We explored every possible option.”

A report from the Baltimore FOX TV affiliate explained the date conflicts. In 2014, Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium will play host to the Ohio State-Navy game on Labor Day weekend, while in 2015, an American Legion Convention will arrive. Grand Prix manager Tim Mayer told FOX 45 shortly after this year’s race that they were “working the issues out right now.”

Baltimore has endured a rocky, but always memorable, three-year period on the IZOD IndyCar Series schedule. It premiered to a packed capacity in 2011 but had to undergo a change in promoters following financial issues at the tail end of the calendar year. Andretti Sports Marketing helped resuscitate the race for two years under the Race On LLC group, led by Grant.

ASM also promotes the IndyCar race in Milwaukee, held the last two years on the Saturday of Father’s Day weekend.

For IndyCar, it’s the first announced race lost for next season. Baltimore was also rumored to have a place on the merged United SportsCar schedule, but that obviously will not happen now. The American Le Mans Series – which will be fused into USCC next year with longtime rival GRAND-AM Rolex Series – has raced at Baltimore the last three years, as well.

UPDATE, 3:40 p.m. ET: A statement has emerged from Mark Miles, IndyCar’s unofficial head and CEO of the series’ parent company, Hulman & Co:

 “After a successful visit to Baltimore, which included record attendance, we are disappointed that our schedules will not align to host an event in 2014. This was simply a matter of trying to find the best date that worked for all parties, since Labor Day weekend was not an option in 2014.  We are thankful to the city of Baltimore, Race On and Andretti Sports Marketing for their support and enthusiasm for the event over the years. We continue to finalize our 2014 schedule and anticipate announcing it prior to the end of our 2013 season.”

The difference there is Miles has just ruled out 2014, not 2015 as the other report had indicated.

UPDATE, 5:15 p.m. ET: A tweet from Andretti Sports Marketing reads: “Unfortunate news, but thanks to the City of Baltimore, Race On and all of our sponsors – hopefully we will return to the Charm City one day!”

Mercedes set to clinch F1 constructors’ championship in Russia

SOCHI, RUSSIA - OCTOBER 08:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP speaks with members of the media in the paddock during previews to the Formula One Grand Prix of Russia at Sochi Autodrom on October 8, 2015 in Sochi, Russia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
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For the second year in a row, Mercedes is poised to wrap up the Formula 1 constructors’ championship in Sochi at this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix.

Mercedes won its first F1 teams’ title in Russia last year, having returned to the sport as a works constructor in 2010. When it last enjoyed such status in the 1950s, there was no championship for the teams.

Just as it did in 2014, Mercedes has dominated proceedings in F1 this season, winning all but three races and sweeping to eight one-two finishes to leave drivers Lewis Hamilton (pictured) and Nico Rosberg battling for the drivers’ title for the second straight year.

Now, Mercedes seeks the knock-out blow in the constructors’ title race by officially wrapping it up in Sochi this weekend.

To do so, the team must simply outscore rivals Ferrari by three points this weekend. The lead currently stands at 169 points, with 215 still on offer. After Sochi, there will be 172 remaining.

“We return to Russia with positive memories from last season, when the team sealed the first constructors’ title for Mercedes-Benz with a one-two finish,” team boss Toto Wolff said.

“A repeat performance in Sochi would be fantastic and this is absolutely the target – but we are under no illusions that it will come easy. The job is not done yet.”

The tire allocation for this weekend’s race could pose problems to Mercedes just as it did in Singapore, potentially allowing Ferrari to spoil the party and delay the victory celebrations at Brackley.

However, if the form book is to be trusted, Sochi could be playing host to another Mercedes party on Sunday night with a second world title in the bag for the Silver Arrows.

IndyCar 2015 Driver Review: Charlie Kimball

Charlie Kimball
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MotorSportsTalk continues its look through the driver-by-driver recaps following the 2015 Verizon IndyCar Series season, with a look at Charlie Kimball, who finished 12th this year.

Charlie Kimball, No. 83 Chip Ganassi Racing Chevrolet

  • 2014: 14th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 6th, 1 Podium, 4 Top-5, 10 Top-10, 0 Laps Led, 16.3 Avg. Start, 12.6 Avg. Finish
  • 2015: 12th Place, Best Finish 3rd, Best Start 6th, 2 Podiums, 3 Top-5, 5 Top-10, 21 Laps Led, 13.3 Avg. Start, 13.1 Avg. Finish

“Super Chuck” – as NBCSN’s Townsend Bell has called him in the past – had another typically “Super Chuck” season. He produced some dizzying heights, made a few mistakes, and posted a lot of consistent runs in the middle that ultimately netted him 12th in points for the season.

We wrote last year that one of the areas where Kimball most needed to improve was his qualifying, and a three-spot year-to-year gain from 16.3 to 13.3 delivered that improvement. Problem was, in a Chevrolet top-heavy grid, Kimball might have been qualifying better, but he was qualifying behind at least seven or eight more fancied Chevrolet runners. In a Honda, you worry if Kimball’s grid positions this year would have dipped into the low teens or high 20s, rather than only just missing advancing into Q2 as was often the case.

While Barber and Mid-Ohio had served as his standout races in the past, the undoubted highlight of Kimball’s 2015 season was his quiet early – then dynamic late – drive to third in the Indianapolis 500. It was a performance that was particularly impressive given he was up against past series champions Juan Pablo Montoya, Will Power and Scott Dixon, who were all vying for the win. Another podium at Sonoma was his first on a road or street course since Detroit race two in 2014, and put him third in points in the two double points races for the year.

But mistakes occurred all too regularly in the 14 standard points events, where he ranked 14th among all drivers. Contacting Dixon in Detroit, surviving a nightmare weekend in Iowa with multiple incidents, and coming together with Graham Rahal in St. Petersburg – even though Rahal was assessed a penalty for avoidable contact – were all moments he’d like to have back.

Kimball’s five years into his IndyCar career and there’s enough evidence to suggest now his breakout 2013 season was an outlier, not the norm. But seasons like 2014 and 2015 prove he still has plenty in hand to cut it at this level, and together with his entire Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing team, an overall asset to the sport.