Roger Penske looked out his window in the Hyatt Hotel at the Inner Harbor and didn’t believe what he was seeing.
It was Saturday and the grandstands along the Baltimore Grand Prix course were packed solid with fans.
“I was amazed at the turnout,” said the owner of Team Penske. “To see huge crowds like that on a Friday and a Saturday shows this event has great potential.”
Penske was generous with his praise — for the beauty of the city, the quality of the course, the work of the organizers, police and volunteers and for Mayor.
“To be able to walk four of five minutes from your hotel to the track. To be able to stay inside the track. I am impressed. It is all well done.”
Penske attributed the success of the ticket sales to the fact that the race was held at the heart of Baltimore’s sports complexes Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadiums. He went to an Orioles game Thursday afternoon with his crew, as a matter of fact.
“These fans know this area. They are here for all sorts of other events. They don’t have to find their way to us.”
Tim Cindric, president of Team Penske, said the fans in the paddock demonstrated a healthy knowledge of Indy car racing.
“We’re most impressed with the knowledge base there is of our sport,” he said.
“For a first-time event, this was impressive. This race has great potential,” concluded Penske. “And it is going to create tremendous added value to the city.”
— Susan Reimer
“This feels like one of my best wins,” he said. “The atmosphere — this is the best podium ceremony I’ve ever had in my career — massive! So many people. On my cool-down lap, I looked at every stand, absolutely full. They put on the best race we have had all year, really impressed, really impressed”.