Willy and Peter do Miami

The Grand Prix Americas is kind of a drag

Still it's hard to believe that the city could not have done better negotiating. To get only a dollar for each ticket sold is a pittance when Chuck Martinez, Raceworks president, estimated between 20,000 and 30,000 people bought $35 to $100 general admission seats, while another estimated 5500 bought $500 VIP tickets. Raceworks stands to make at least $2.75 million in VIP ticket sales alone. And ticket sales don't include the money spent by corporate sponsors like Cadillac, Pioneer, and Presidente.

Even the Miami Herald got on the GPA bandwagon. A headline in last Friday's paper read: "No Good Ol' Boys Allowed at Miami Race." "This is a great shot in the arm for the city of Miami," Diaz babbled.

A walk down Flagler Street, however, where retail activity is on life support, didn't bear out Hizzoner's words. Roberto Fuentes, store manager of La Mirage Computers, said the GPA did little to boost sluggish sales. "September was almost fatal for us," he complained.

Before the Grand Prix Americas, drivers baked like candy apples in their fire-resistant suits, while Willy Bermello and Peter Yanowitch beamed grotesquely
Steve Satterwhite
Before the Grand Prix Americas, drivers baked like candy apples in their fire-resistant suits, while Willy Bermello and Peter Yanowitch beamed grotesquely

He gestured to the empty sidewalks two blocks from all the fenced-in hoopla of the GPA: "It's hard to attract customers when the streets are like this," he said. Somebody is making money, but not small merchants.

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