Baltimore mayor, race organizers differ on prospects of GPoB return (VIDEO)

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Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake – perhaps the greatest supporter of the Grand Prix of Baltimore – told reporters last night that she was “cautiously optimistic” about the street race’s return to the Inner Harbor in 2016.

Yesterday, INDYCAR announced that the event would be off the schedule for at least the next two years due to an inability to find a new date for it.

Downtown Baltimore is playing host to a major college football game next Labor Day weekend, and at the same time in 2015, the American Legion will stage a major convention in the area.

But while Blake seemed to think that the Grand Prix could be revived in the future, J.P. Grant of Race On Baltimore (which co-promoted the race alongside Andretti Sports Marketing) was more subdued about his prediction of the event’s future.

“It took us two years to get to this point, and if you take two years off, our sponsors are going to wonder whether we can actually put on an event,” Grant said according to Baltimore news radio station WBAL-AM.

“We had potential title sponsors lined up for next year, and they want three-year commitments, and so if we can’t commit to that, it makes it difficult to put on a race.”

A report from David Collins of Baltimore NBC affiliate WBAL-TV has more reaction from Blake, Grant and city business owners on the cancellation of the event. You can watch it at the top of the post.

INDYCAR: Patricio O’Ward turns heads in Carlin debut

Chris Jones / IndyCar
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While the top story coming out of Sunday’s IndyCar Classic at Circuit of the Americas is undoubtedly 18-year-old Colton Herta’s victory in only his third IndyCar start, another teenager made quite some noise during the first IndyCar race at the facility.

19-year-old Patricio O’Ward made an impressive start to his 2019 IndyCar campaign by starting and finishing in eighth position. It was the first of his 13 races this season for Carlin Racing.

“I think it was a pretty good race for us. We ended exactly where we started and didn’t go backwards, so I’d say that was a successful day” O’Ward said. “I know the No. 31 Carlin Chevrolet had a top-five finish in it today and even though we couldn’t make it happen, it’s nice to know that we have the pace and can be fighting up front with the veteran drivers.”

O’Ward, the 2018 Indy Lights champ, made his series debut for Harding Steinbrenner Racing at last year’s season finale at Sonoma Raceway, where he made it to the Firestone Fast Six in qualifying and finished ninth. O’Ward was scheduled to race for the team full-time in 2019, but left in early February to pursue other options due to a lack of sponsorship.

Pato found a new home with Carlin, and despite missing preseason testing, he proved to be competitive from the get go and pressured some of IndyCar’s more tenured drivers, including Graham Rahal.

In what was undoubtedly the most daring move of the race, O’Ward ended a great battle with Rahal by hitting a superb outside pass on Lap 15.

O’Ward may have likely earned a better result on Sunday, if he didn’t have to save fuel in order to make the finish.

But with only two IndyCar starts to his credit, he is already racing like a seasoned veteran. Sunday’s IndyCar Classic may be the first of many successful outings for him this year.

After the race, he tweeted to his team: “Well done gentlemen … This is only the beginning.”

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