While the IZOD IndyCar Series’ next event is at Sonoma, California’s Infineon Raceway on Aug. 28, I can’t help but let my mind drift to the race after that, the Baltimore Grand Prix on Labor Day Weekend. My many relatives in Maryland have told me they don’t plan on going down to the Inner Harbor to see the show, citing the absolute crush of humanity that will surely ensue. And considering most of my relatives have little children, I don’t blame them for not going.
But I’m sure they’ll still be interested to see how this race evolved from an idea to a reality. The Baltimore Sun’s Julie Scharper and Justin Fenton have put together a great story that takes us from the very beginning and shows how Steven Wehner, a man that has fought dyslexia and drug addiction, managed to get the idea of an IndyCar race in the streets of Baltimore on the radar of the city’s citizens and politicians. Today, Jay Davidson is the big cheese of the Baltimore Grand Prix — Wehner himself admits in the article that he wasn’t the right guy to run the corporation behind the race — but Wehner’s story is still an interesting one.
There’s also this little nugget at the end of Scharper and Fenton’s piece that suggests Wehner may still have a stake in IndyCar’s future even though he’s distanced himself from the Baltimore Grand Prix recently. You see, he’s created a new, yet-to-be-incorporated company and…well…:
“IndyCar officials confirm that they have an agreement with Wehner and his new company to negotiate street races in three other cities. First up: Seattle.”
Commence wailing from the oval crowd and quizzical looks from everybody else. Seattle? But hey, Baltimore isn’t exactly a racing hotbed yet here we are about to see them stage an IndyCar race. So why shouldn’t the Coffee Capital of America get a shot if they truly deserve one?
I can already see it now…The Starbucks Grand Prix…Panoramic TV shots of the skyline and Space Needle…Drivers doing the fish-tossing thing at Pike Place…Yeah, it’s not an oval, but there’d be worse places to stage a street race than the Emerald City.
UPDATE: Steven Wehner is suing Baltimore Racing Development according to a Fenton-penned piece that came out today in the Sun. The article states that Wehner is filing a $750,000 claim. Also, the article says that another investor in the race is suing BRD for $320,000 he feels is owed to him. Davidson denies Wehner’s allegations.
Maybe we should hold off on Seattle for now?