CANCELLED: The IndyCar Boston Grand Prix Is Dead – No Racing In City After Quagmire Of Bureaucracy

CANCELLED: The IndyCar Boston Grand Prix Is Dead – No Racing In City After Quagmire Of Bureaucracy

As a person who lives here, the cancellation of the Indycar Boston Grand Prix was an inevitability from the second that the event was announced. Initially the response was very positive. It was going to be a major event in the old city over Labor Day weekend. There would be an 11-turn street course that would work out to a couple miles in length, and best of all the series wold have a new venue with new fans in a major sports market to hang their hat on. The plan began to fall apart almost instantly after the announcement and Boston showed its true colors in a couple of different ways.

There was an immediate negative reaction by the citizenry. Websites, groups, and letter writing campaigns began in earnest less than a couple weeks after the mere mention of the race. The city’s second largest newspaper The Boston Herald was attacking the race with amazing frequency and that was just the public side of things. According to IndyCar officials and the race promoters, they were able to gather sponsors easily but dealing with the nightmare of the city government is what ultimately ended the process. One of them actually called it “an abusive relationship.” Typical stuff like permitting, red tape, and lack of response from governmental officials from the Mayor on down caused this project to crash and burn.

While it is lame for the city, it is really bad for IndyCar. They now have one of the best known racing weekends of the year wide open and the best they are going to do is to find a city that is willing to take on the race in what amounts to a last minute fashion. As is usually the case, Robin Miller has the best take on the whole thing and if you ca believe it, the piece is not just a clobbering of Boston because it also recognized the big issues IndyCar has to tackle to advance their own cause.

Click For Robin Miller’s take on the cancellation of the IndayCar Boston Grand Prix


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10 thoughts on “CANCELLED: The IndyCar Boston Grand Prix Is Dead – No Racing In City After Quagmire Of Bureaucracy

  1. James Boos

    Part of this is on the series though. They pushy too hard to put themselves in markets that are, quite frankly, out of their league. Putting a street race in the middle of a city that doesn’t have a tradition of racing and doesn’t necessarily need the added revenue is never going to work.

    Robin Miller is right, go to places that don’t have a dedicated sports following and build a base. Smaller markets are not a death nail.

  2. Urs Karcioglu

    It should be back in Vancouver, B.C where it rightfully belongs on Labour Day weekend. Ya, I’m just busting everyones balls. We have had top level racing other than Seattle’s National drag racing event and some of the stuff at Mission. No more supercross there either. Never did hear

  3. Sneke_Eyez

    I have SO many things to say about this as a 5+ year part of the city of Boston and someone who works in real estate law in the city and in the Seaport (which is where they were going to run it), but I am going to keep it brief.

    Despite massive protest against it by some of my clients and those who live in buildings I work with, I put my money behind it and paid for pit passes and tickets on the second day they were available to those on the “early” list.

    After the Olympic debacle, this city (Mayor Walsh especially) is in no mood to listen to proposals that are not well thought out and that require large amounts of taxpayer funds. While the “permitting process” and “red tape” may be blamed for the decision to pull the plug, Mayor Walsh would have made this happen if he felt like the support was there and the city wasn’t going to have to spend a lot of money to have it here.

    Originally, it was billed as being an entirely self-funded event. I was told IndyCar even committed to putting the residents of the Seaport who were concerned about noise/danger into hotels in another part of the city. It seemed like a good thing at that time.

    Then I started talking to clients who live in the area again. They were dead against it and were loud about it. It seemed they weren’t placated by being moved for the weekend. Some hadn’t even explored that option. Others told me that IndyCar was requiring certain amounts of money from the city and that they weren’t being all that forthcoming about it.

    All of a sudden it was the 2024 Olympics all over again – and that’s when I knew it would go downhill.

    Overall, I think IndyCar needed to present a seamless plan and I think they didn’t do so. Boston was a city skeptical of the idea of having a race in the Seaport District and IndyCar didn’t do a good job of convincing people that it would be a good idea.

    The only other thing I have to offer here is that they should have tried this 5 or 6 years ago – at that time the Seaport District was dead, mostly parking lots and open space, as the development kick hadn’t really begun yet. Now there is another whole city being built there at a fast rate, which includes new condos and people moving in and making noise when they believe something isn’t in their interest.

    I’d love to hear from anyone else in the Boston area who has thoughts on this.

    1. steve-o

      I live on the South Shore of Boston, and am certainly a motorsports fan. When I heard of the race, I was thinking “that’s going to be cool” But, I was also thinking “huh?”.
      There is little or no support for motorsports in Boston. True Bostonian’s views:
      NASCAR is a bunch of hicks, Monster Jam is for trailer park trash, motocross is a bunch of punk drug addicts, and Indy cars are just too damned loud!

  4. George A

    Sneke, you are 100% right. I live in the Boston suburbs and the time for this race was at the turn of the century, right after the collapse of the ideas for new stadiums for the Red Sox and the Pats, and before the real estate boom of the last five years. The Seaport was a deserted ghost town then and the city and state would have been more receptive. Now it’s some of the hottest real estate in the country, and even if they were somehow to pull it off, it feels like a one-and-done situation. GE moving it’s HQ into the area might have been the last nail in the coffin.

    There was no question that the city and state were giving the promoters the runaround at the end, especially with the “sudden” realization, after the appropriate permits had been issued, that the $800 million convention center had been built on of a 100 year-old flood plain and the plan for reprofiled curbs was an environmental crisis of the highest order, needing dispensation from the state and maybe the Pope too. I suspect their initial enthusiasm faded when confronted by a few angry residents who would have relentlessly hammered the city, and that gave the politicians cold feet.

    Feh. I don’t think many street races are viable anyway. I’ve always wondered why someone didn’t try a temporary oval setup, where all you need is a big open area that can take a little pavement. Bring in the temp grandstands, concert stages, food trucks, and porta potties, and locate it somewhere accessible but not in the middle of someone’s idea of an urban oasis. Lots of open industrial sites and disused airports to choose from out there.

  5. It's 80 degrees in Hawaii . . . again

    This happened in Honolulu too. I was fortunate to be involved with the track layout, got to work with Al Unser Jr. (The Unser family has racing history in Hawaii). We had a governor and a mayor with several city council with racing back grounds including world champ John Desoto. Permits, EPA and noise regs was in place. ESPN was ready with the money. The track was laid out along the waterfront and the historical Aloha Tower. The pit garage with undercover in the pier area. The billionaire yachts were going to be there because of the late Rocky Aoki (Benihana restaurants). The setting would be like Monaco in the middle of the pacific. Indy agreed to repave the streets “to make it safer” and save the city several million dollars. Projected income for the city about $25-30M annually. It would have bridged the gap of US and Asia markets. And the bonus for Indy was using Honolulu as the customs port instead of LA/Oakland/Seattle too busy ports and the racing team could take a bit of vacations. Honda and Toyota was going to get seriously involved, too.
    And some how it went away. Not a wheel turned, no smoke, nothing. The only thing was that was left were concrete barriers and chain link fencing abandoned in a empty field near our now defunct Hawaii Raceway Park.
    That was so long ago and so far away. Oh, well.

  6. Sam kemper

    Bring it to Portland, Oregon! We used to host it and had great attendance.

  7. Robert

    It’s because you can’t turn over a police car and burn it after your favorite driver looses.

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