According to the mayor's office, Andretti Sports Marketing will arrange "sponsorships, public relations, marketing, hospitality, ticket sales, track build, grandstand layout, and logistics" for the race — imperative given the truncated timeline. City officials say they expect the new team to begin work immediately.
The latest contract also requires that revenue from the 10 percent admissions and amusement tax, which the city charges for such events, be diverted to a "lockbox" escrow fund. City officials instituted this provision in the Downforce contract after Baltimore Racing Development, the first group, failed to pay nearly $500,000 in taxes.
Grant, whose Columbia-based firm, Grant Capital Management, has received city contracts, has been closely allied with the mayor for years. He gave the city $90,000 to keep pools open longer in 2010, after budget cuts threatened to curtail the swimming season. Grant and his relatives also donated to Rawlings-Blake's campaign last year.
Grant had contemplated working with another racing team earlier this year but withdrew his support before a proposal was formalized.
Greg O'Neill, the vice president of BMW Construction Specialists in Curtis Bay, had submitted a proposal along with Owings Mills businesswoman Sharon Grinnell to take over the race in January, but the city rejected that proposal in favor of Downforce.
City officials say that the contract with Race On and Andretti Sports Marketing will be voted on by the city's Board of Estimates next week. City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young and Comptroller Joan M. Pratt voted against the contract with Downforce, but Rawlings-Blake and her two staffers on the board voted in favor of the deal.
A spokesman for Young said that the council president planned to again vote against the racing contract.
"He believes that the city's efforts and energies should be directed elsewhere," said spokesman Lester Davis. "He thinks the city should move on, and his vote will reflect that."
In the news release, Rawlings-Blake said the contract would undergo a six-day "open and transparent public review period," repeating language from the February news release. She instructed residents who wished to comment on the race to send her an email at email@example.com.