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Denver Diary:
Day One
Relying on the Kindness of Denverians

Denver, CO, August 12 ó Iím really not the Blanche Du Bois type. Iíve never been to Orleans thus have not ridden the Streetcar Named Desire, but it appears this weekend that nonetheless, I shall have to, paraphrasing Blanche, rely on the kindness of Denverians.

Why? Well, I have been flying since it was a big occasion to fly on an airplane. Remember getting all dressed up, and if you were a kid, getting to tour the cockpit? I have battled blizzards, thunderstorms, and assorted automotive mishaps to arrive for my flights at airports. But I have never, until Friday, missed an airline flight. Never.

Our day began innocently enough, up at 4:30 in the morning to catch a 6:20 flight on American Airlines. Jeff and I live only 5 minutes from the airport, and with due dispatch, we arrived at 5:30 AM, a time at which most Angelinos are not even close to having an alarm clock go off, let alone hit a snooze bar. There was a line to the skycaps, but we were not worried, having departed on flights in similar scenarios dozens of times before.

Not this time, though! When we were finally arrived at the front of the line, some 15 minutes later, our skycap immediately disappeared inside the terminal with our boarding passes in hand. I still wasnít worried, but I should have been. When he returned moments later, it was to inform us that we could not get on our 6:20 flight. More specifically, we could get on the flight with carry-on only, but our bags could not. This was due to a 40-minute baggage cut off about which we were never informed, and which we reportedly missed by less than 5 minutes. And, in this post 9/11 world, that meant that we could not get on the plane, either.

What would continue to make me fume during the ensuing seven and a half hours until the new flight we had to book actually took off was that the only thing that kept us off the earlier plane was our own kindness. I have a reputation for being unfailingly kind and gracious in all situations. During the Rodney King riots, I never lost my cool. During the Northridge earthquake, other than holding on to Jeff for an anchor due to the intense shaking, there was nary a peep out of me.

What died on Friday was my unabridged kindness. I am over it. I will never again stand without complaint in a line if my punctuality is an issue at all. Because, truth be told, the skycaps made no distinction whatsoever about who they checked in and appeared unconcerned about 40 minute cut-offs. If they had, we would have made that plane, and I would not be so aggravated with American Airlines, the Rab terrorists (or this that redundant?) who caused this idiocy, and of course myself for being, well, me.

So, while our talented racers were setting new course records for speed in the streets of Denver, if you are Paul Tracy, or topping the time sheets in your second series start, if you are Atlanticsí Alan Sciuto, Jeff and I sat in Terminal 4 at LAX. Since we really love irony, I must also mention, our flight to Denver took off 30 minutes late. However, since we arrived in the Mile High City, we have been surrounded by nothing but kindness from the citizens of Denver. Which is a good thing, since ours is in short supply.

Denverís street course is near downtown, as opposed to in downtown, as was San Joseís. The crowds appear light to me, but maybe Iím jaded after the capacity attendance at San Jose. This city is welcoming Champ Car, as the local broadcast and print media prominently feature the Grand Prix in their shows and publications. But, the weather will be critical for the fan part of the races this weekend. Most of the activity on the track took place under dry conditions, but thunderstorms are predicted for all three days of the event. We expect the die-hard fans Ė the kind who visits Deep Throttle Ė to attend no matter the weather. But, the casual fan, so critical to the financial success of the race, will not usually come out when itís cold and wet. So, for the eventís sake, we hope for dry.

This weekendís racing will involve five different series in six races. The Formula BMW USA Championship will race twice this weekend. Burning up the tracks this year for them is Richard Philippe, younger brother of Champ Carís Nelson Philippe. We are looking forward to seeing old racing friends Leighton Reese, Max Papis, and Lou Gigliotti in the Speed World Challenge GT and Touring series.

Of course, there will be all the usual suspects in Champ Carís three owned series. The Trans-Am race is Saturday afternoon, featuring Amigo Paul Gentilozzi on pole. In Atlantics, no one looks faster than Sciuto, who is running under Gilles Villeneuveís number 27, although we expect Katherine Legge to kick major behind in the actual race. And in Champ Car, Bourdais, while spending most of Friday looking like a Medieval knight in search of, not the Grail, but grip, nonetheless looked invincible.

Fridayís dinner is at Landryís Seafood, and while we did wonder how great an inland seafood place would be, the answer, should you want to know, is pretty darned good. And did I mention how very kind the people in Denver were?

Until next time, Iím off to the races!

Copyright © 2005 by Lisa Davidson and Deep Throttle. All Rights Reserved.

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