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IndyCar refunds could take up to two months, promoters say

Max Zeitler was looking forward to watching race cars zip through the Seaport District for IndyCar Boston’s three-day rally Labor Day weekend.

Now, the 27-year-old Cambridge native says he’s not only disappointed that the event won’t be happening — he’s also aggravated that he hasn’t yet received a refund for the expensive tickets he purchased.

Like others, Zeitler is waiting for hundreds of dollars to reappear in his bank account.

“I was one of the first people to purchase tickets. I bought them pre-sale,” said Zeitler. “I should be one of the first people, in theory, to get my money back.”

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But officials from Grand Prix of Boston said Wednesday that completing the refund process, which began last week, could take up to two months.

As people took to IndyCar Boston’s Facebook page this week, to complain about the lack of communication regarding refunds, the organization’s account was suddenly deleted.

John Casey, who was president of Boston’s planned IndyCar event, said the shutdown may have been tied to the organization shuttering its offices this week. He said all the computer equipment and furniture was taken away from the company’s headquarters on Tuesday.

“The office is gone now,” he said in a telephone interview.

Casey, who said he is no longer part of IndyCar Boston — “when they ended, I ended” — understands people’s frustrations, but is asking them to be patient.

“It’s going to take a little while” to issue refunds, he said.

The city’s inaugural IndyCar race had been scheduled for Labor Day weekend, on a 2.2-mile temporary street course around the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center.

Land and roads around the BCEC are controlled by the city and multiple state agencies, which required the Grand Prix of Boston to negotiate a series of complex agreements in order to secure permission to host the event.

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Plans for the race collapsed in late April, amid clashes between race promoters and the city. Casey accused the city of making unreasonable demands; the city, in response, suggested the race promoters were disorganized.

Grand Prix of Boston officials said they sold “several thousand” tickets while negotiations were underway. In a message on their website, the organization said they’re working through refunds “as quickly as possible.”

David Altschuler, who lives in Charlestown and purchased a ticket to the event, said he understands there may be a delay getting his money back.

“I was going to give them the benefit of the doubt,” he said. “But I’m a little frustrated with the lack of communication.”

Mark Miles, chief executive of Indycar’s parent company, Hulman & Co., said the local promoters have contractual obligations to Indycar that require them to provide full refunds.

Those obligations can be enforced by Indycar in court, if necessary, he said.

“We have been assured by the Boston Grand Prix entity that they would refund all ticket purchases,” said Miles, in a Globe interview. “We will do what we can to hold them to that.”

Miles said the promoters of the Grand Prix of Boston were not part of Hulman & Co.; they were a separate company with a signed agreement to hold a Boston race on the Indycar circuit.

Both Miles and Casey said they envision a racing event coming to Boston at some point — but not this year, and likely not in the Seaport.

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“We have spoken with the mayor about it and at least one investor group has reached out to us,” Miles said. “We’d like to do it. We’ve learned from what happened this year ... we need to make sure everything is cleaned up from this false start and be sure there are no complications left over from that.”


Steve Annear can be reached at steve.annear@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear. Mark Arsenault, of the Globe staff, contributed to this report.