Baltimore Grand Prix Set to Hit Town

August 14, 2011 | Marty Mossa

Wow, are we in France, Italy, England, or even Indianapolis?  No we’re in Baltimore, Maryland.  And the Grand Prix of auto racing is coming to town in less than three weeks.  I’m not a racing fan, but I’m excited.  To think that races cars traveling upwards to two hundred miles per hour will be streaking through the downtown streets of Baltimore is mind boggling.  But it’s true.  The first annual Baltimore Grand Prix is set to commence starting on Friday, September 2nd, and run through Monday, September 5th.  Four exciting days of racing await us.Now I’m not much of a racing fan.  I’ll watch Daytona merely as a way to get through the lull between the Superbowl and the start of the Stanley Cup Finals.  And I must admit, I superficial, I watch the Indy 500 and root for Danica Patrick.  For all intense and purposes, I know nothing about auto racing.

As an avid sports fan however, I can’t resist the opportunity presented to me and the people of Maryland to taking advantage of this grand event.  I will be taking my son Nick to the race on Saturday, not so much as a racing fan, but more so for the experience.

I feel a sense of a connection to this event.  Two summers ago I taught a writing course to a group of elementary school children in Baltimore City.  When we came upon the ‘persuasion” piece of the course we decided to write the Indy people in Indiana and persuade them to come to Baltimore for their race.  This was the summer of 2009, and it was not set in stone as of yet that they were actually going to come here.   

We compiled a letter highlighting the many attractions of Baltimore.  We talked about the Inner Harbor, National Aquarium, etc, etc, etc.  Now I realize that our letter had no bearing at all on the decision to come here; but it was fun for the students all the same.  We got a response from Al Unser, his letter went like this:

Dear Students,

“I am very impressed with your persuasive writing skills.  I feel that you are on your way to becoming outstanding communicators.  I do agree that Baltimore could benefit greatly from having a Circuit placed in the city.  I am excited to travel to Baltimore one day so I can enjoy some of the “best seafood in the world” as you all stated.  Thank you so much for your letters.  Please keep up the good work in school and stay focused.  Maybe someday it will be you winning the Indy 500.


Al Unser

I can’t wait until we hear General Colin Powell announce “ladies and gentlemen, start your engines.”