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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

In the fast lane

This past weekend, the Gran Prix series was held in St. Petersburg. I gave hubby tickets for the whole weekend as an anniversary present. He loved it. I went with him for a while on Friday afternoon. It was fun, you get pretty close to the drivers and cars in the Paddock area where you are actually allowed to walk.

I don't know a lot about racing. But I've sort of been a fan of Danica Patrick for a while, well, because she's a woman and she drives fast -- faster than most guys. But Helio C. is always a fave too.

So, we went over to Danica's car. It was crowded with lots of moms and dads and their little girls who clutched Danica posters or a camera. Danica comes out of her trailer, glances at the crowd -- no smile -- and jumps in her car for adjustments. She gets back out, ignores the calls for autographs or photos and gets back in her trailer. She does stand at the front of the trailer long enough to pull her racing suit off the top part of her body earning her cat calls from the men -- the ones without the kids. She smiles and walks out of sight. She materializes again, only to briskly walk past the crowd to a waiting vehicle to take her to the track.

OK, this is my first time at this race. So I'm not surprised. She's busy. She's working.Those are the excuses I give her, because I've admired her for so long. Never mind that she left several little girls in disppointed tears.

Then we head over to Helio's area, figuring he's probably already gone too. So, I'm surprised when he's standing by his car, posing for photos. Smiling, he walks over to fans and shakes everyone's hand, signs autographs, poses for more photos, hops on the scooter he rides to the track and poses for another photo. Wow.

I have a new favorite driver. Helio was that way all through the weekend. I cheered for him to win -- he came in second. Danica finished 10th. Good for her. I'm always thrilled to see a woman breaking into a male-dominated field. Still...I think that she could give five minutes of her time to make some kids very happy. But I guess we all have our "working style."

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