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Harris County
Reliant Park
News Release
Monday, August 09, 2010

Grand Prix May Return to Houston
Grand Prix of Houston Local Organizing Committee Formed

HOUSTON – Harris County/Houston is racing to the checkered flag to bring the Indy Racing League back to Reliant Park. Under the direction of new leader Randy Bernard (IRL CEO) attendance records are through the roof with nearly 3 million fans attending events and we want a part of the action. Surely, with Mr. Bernard’s background with the Professional Bull Riding Association he too knows what a perfect fit we are. To spearhead this effort Mi-Jack Promotions, Harris County, the City of Houston and SMG-Reliant Park have announced the formation of the Grand Prix of Houston Local Organizing Committee. The LOC has been formed to bring the Indy Racing League back to Reliant Park in 2012. Members of the LOC will work with SMG-Reliant Park and Mi-Jack Racing to bring the race back to Houston/Harris County for the first time since 2006. George DeMontrond has been announced as Chairman of the LOC. Other members of the LOC include Mark Miller, Greg Ortale and Don Henderson.

"I am looking forward to leading a great team of race enthusiasts and returning this event to Houston in 2012” said George DeMontrond, Chairman, Grand Prix of Houston Local Organizing Committee, “There is competition for this event but we are determined to win by showing the IRL that Houstonians support the return of open wheel racing to our city”

The LOC is making this effort because the Grand Prix of Houston greatly benefits Harris County and the greater Houston area. In 2006 and 2007, the event had an estimated economic benefit to the region of $35 million per year due to race participant spending, fans traveling to the race and spending money on hotels/restaurants/attractions, and direct spending from the Grand Prix. In addition, the Grand Prix provides tremendous international exposure for Houston due to domestic and international television broadcasts and media coverage.

"The Grand Prix of Houston is a truly unique sporting event, and its return to Harris County will complement a series of high-profile sporting events showcasing our area in recent years," said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. "Harris County, start your engines for 2012!"

“We’re thrilled at the possibility of the Grand Prix returning to our great City. I think we’ve proven that Houston is indeed a  “racing” city with loyal fans,” said Mayor Annise Parker, “and I think this LOC headed by George DeMontrond is just the group to bring it home for us.”

Houston will be in a competitive environment for spots on the 2012 IRL schedule and will be competing against cities from around the world for a race date. Harris County/Houston officials are going to “drop the hanmer” to convince the Indy Racing League that Houston is an aerodynamic city with the necessary horse power to be a successful host for an IZOD IndyCar Series race.

"We'll do everything we can to bring this event to Houston," said Greg Ortale, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The Indy Racing League has a huge following, and the weekend events will absolutely boost the Houston/Harris County economy. The Houston Grand Prix was gaining a strong fan base before the Champ Car/Indy Racing League merger cancelled the date so bringing a racing event back to Houston is a priority. The international popularity of Indy Car racing around the world would further enhance the global image of Houston.  Houston is an extremely competitive market, and we know the event in our City will be a success."

In 2006 and 2007 the Grand Prix of Houston was held at Reliant Park and was very successful, drawing over 150,000 fans in 2006 and more than 168,000 in 2007.

“We are very excited about the possibility of once again hosting the Grand Prix here at Reliant Park” said Mark Miller, General Manager, SMG-Reliant Park, “I think the formation of this LOC helps us get one step closer to making this a reality.”

The Grand Prix of Houston has been on hiatus for the past three years. When Champ Car and the Indy Racing League announced the unification of the two series in 2008, Houston was left without a race due to a date conflict with the IndyCar schedule. It’s time to shift into high gear and bring this race back to Harris County/Houston and Reliant Park!

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