There's something different about a racing crowd. Take the VIP party at Gretsky's restaurant on Friday, hosted by race car driver Paul Tracy. Everything -- and I mean everything -- was over the top.
Motorcycles were revving and so were appetites, as evidenced by the hordes at the sushi tent. Booze was flowing and pretty girls were everywhere, many of them wearing Miss Molson Indy banners (how many contenders could there be, I wondered).
Tracy and the other drivers were holed up in a VIP area at the back of the restaurant -- seemingly heavily guarded to keep the guests who were actually invited to the party from coming in. Very strange. When I asked why, a guard told me the racers wanted to eat without being disturbed. Sounds like my dog. Obviously, race-car drivers are primal individuals, as evidenced by the fact that only good-looking young things were allowed in.
"But Paul will come out and say hello to you," I was assured.
I declined, not wanting to separate the man from his food (Rover is the same way).
Speaking of young things, I ran into Miss Universe Canada 2003, Leanne Cecil, who assured me she was lured there by the sexiness of racing.
She was wearing an outfit by New York designer Betsey Johnson, and confided, innocently, "It cost $600." She gestured to her incredible red suede stilettos, and said, "I even brought a red umbrella. I'm red all the way for Molson Indy."
The 26-year-old Cecil told me she is a beauty queen who is "breaking some stereotypes," most notably that she is working on her third university degree. She already has a Bachelor of Science (she majored in biology and chemistry) and a Bachelor of Education. She has just finished her third-year in pharmacy at Wayne State University.
"The thing is, a lot of people envision a stereotypical pharmacist as a geeky guy counting pills," she says. No more.
Racing fever lasted throughout the weekend. Yesterday, I got a call from Victor Webster, who is in town shooting Mutant X. He's also just finished an episode of Sex and the City, where he plays Kim Cattrall's love interest.
"We're sitting right in front of the pit," he told me excitedly. "My publicist gave me comp tickets. I'm here with my brother who is a huge racing fan."
I asked the Calgary native, who has lived in Los Angeles for the past 17 years, if he was enjoying himself, and he assured me that indeed he was.
"They brought me down to get into a special two-passenger car they use for demonstrations but I couldn't get into it. I'm 6-foot-5." Oh, well, you can't have everything.
Later, when I heard that Paul Tracy had won, I took full credit. I knew it was a good idea not to disturb him while he was eating.