Now for the million-dollar question: Was it worth it?
Was the inaugural Baltimore Grand Prix worth all the hassles?
Was it worth disrupting downtown traffic for weeks so the streets could be resurfaced and race cars could do 180 mph without hitting a pothole and launching themselves into orbit?
Was it worth killing all those trees along the course just so racegoers had a better view from the grandstands and air-conditioned private suites, where the swells raked crackers through the crab dip without having to deal with the smell of racing fuel and all that nasty humidity?
Was it worth ticking off all those folks who live downtown and found their neighborhood sealed off with race walls and chain-link fencing?
We'll see. The jury's still out on that.
But judged as a big-time sports event alone, one that attracted hard-core race fans and folks who wouldn't know Will Power from Austin Powers, the Grand Prix was a huge hit.
Depending on whom you talked to, between 100,000 and 120,000 spectators showed up for three days of street racing that showed off the Inner Harbor in a spectacular light.
Think the Preakness, only in a nicer setting. And without all the howling infield drunks.
Grand Prix organizers had said that the race could generate more than $65 million in economic impact. Did it do that? It's way too early to tell. The bean counters are still nursing hangovers from the big weekend. They haven't even slipped on their green eyeshades yet.
But anecdotal evidence suggests that if visitors were blowing money, they were doing it mainly down by the racecourse. A friend said Little Italy was largely a ghost town. Hotels away from the course didn't seem particularly crowded.
By the way, the city shelled out $6.5 million for all that roadwork downtown. And if you're one of those who thinks the money would have been better spent on schools and rec centers and neighborhood services, I get that.
But that's not how the game works. The city says most of the cash was federal money. And that it had to be spent on principal roads.
If you show me the money would have gone into more computers for school kids or more Police Athletic League centers, then, OK, you have a case.
The bottom line was this: Baltimore could be proud of this race. Very proud.
Attendance was strong all three days. Race officials said most of the 27,000 grandstand seats were sold. All 84 private suites were sold. Walk-up tickets sales Saturday were said to be phenomenal. Sunday was so busy that walk-up tickets were gone early.
And the racecar drivers couldn't have been nicer. They went out of their way to be friendly and accommodating to the fans, especially in the cavernous paddock area in the Convention Center where the cars were maintained.
If you're used to pro athletes big-timing you or blowing off your kid when he asks for an autograph, you were in heaven at the Grand Prix.
These open-wheel drivers, they'll practically come out to your house to sign. Probably bring coffee and bagels as well.
For the most part, the drivers had lots of nice things to say about Baltimore, too.
"This city has the best race fans we've ever met — I put them right up there with Indy," said my new buddy Anders Krohn, the 23-year-old Norwegian known as the Viking.
I wrote about the Viking in Saturday's column. He finished sixth today in the Indy Lights race after braking too hard for a turn when he was the front-runner. But he couldn't stop raving about the enthusiasm Baltimore fans displayed.
"I spent five hours Friday alone signing autographs," he said, shaking his head in wonder.
Sure, a few of the drivers gently criticized the course. They noted there were a few bumps, tight turns and slippery stretches of concrete that could potentially cause a — oh, what's the racing term? — fiery wreck.
Look, if I were in that line of work, I'd want the course to be as safe as possible, too. I'd want it to be smoother than the 18th green at Pebble Beach.
But mostly the drivers recognized that a big downtown road race isn't exactly something Baltimore does every day. And that there would inevitably be glitches and course imperfections that would be corrected over time, especially with the race scheduled to run four more years.
All in all, what a great three days it was for this town. An Australian with the marvelous name of Will Power won the big IndyCar race today. And a Spaniard with the even more marvelous name of Oriol Servia finished second.
Oriol Servia. Tell me that's not an omen.
And a damn good one.
Listen to Kevin Cowherd at 7:20 a.m. Tuesdays on 105.7 The Fan's "The Norris and Davis Show."