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GAINS, PAINS & AUTOMOBILES
Richard O'Brien
December 05, 2007
THE YEAR THAT WAS FOR NASCAR FANS, 2007 HAD IT ALL—BOTH ON AND OFF THE TRACK. FROM CHEATIN' AT DAYTONA TO MEETIN' WITH PARIS, TO BANGIN' AND BEATIN' AT THE GLEN, THE ACTION WAS WILD, WOOLLY AND SOMETIMES DOWNRIGHT WEIRD
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December 05, 2007

Gains, Pains & Automobiles

THE YEAR THAT WAS FOR NASCAR FANS, 2007 HAD IT ALL—BOTH ON AND OFF THE TRACK. FROM CHEATIN' AT DAYTONA TO MEETIN' WITH PARIS, TO BANGIN' AND BEATIN' AT THE GLEN, THE ACTION WAS WILD, WOOLLY AND SOMETIMES DOWNRIGHT WEIRD

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A REAL NASCAR DAD
JEFF GORDON and wife Ingrid Vandebosch celebrate the birth of daughter Ella Sofia on June 20. No truth to reports that Earnhardt fans shower hospital with baby bottles. (How about diapers?)

TEAM TURMOIL
ON JULY 7 Tony Stewart's hopes for a three-peat at the Pepsi 400 go up in, well, Smoke when, on Lap 14, he gets into the back of Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin's Chevy, causing both cars to wreck. Stewart (20) blames the incident on Hamlin (11), whom Stewart accuses (incorrectly, according to replays) of lifting off the throttle. "I don't know if he knows the definition of team right now," says Stewart. Responds Hamlin, "If he wants to blame it on me, I'll be the bigger man, [but] he still shouldn't have thrown me as far under the bus as he did."

PARIS MATCH
IN EARLY August stories appear in the tabloids of canoodling between Paris Hilton and Kasey Kahne at a Hollywood nightspot. Kahne dismisses them. "She was there, I got to meet her—that was it," he says. A few weeks later, at another club, Hilton is seen with Denny Hamlin. Maybe Paris is just looking for a designated driver.

NORTHERN EXPOSURE
NASCAR'S first Busch Series race in Canada is held Aug. 4 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal. The event draws 68,000 spectators to the 2.71-mile road course. Kevin Harvick is declared the winner after Robby Gordon is black-flagged for lining up improperly on a restart with two laps to go. Gordon ignores the disqualification and, after crossing the line ahead of Harvick, does a victory burnout. NASCAR suspends Gordon (left) from the following week's Cup race for having been a "threat to the orderly conduct of the event."

THE WILD JUAN III
AT WATKINS GLEN on Aug. 12 Juan Pablo Montoya, after a bump by Martin Truex Jr., gets into the back of Kevin Harvick as the field dives into Turn 1 on a Lap 72 restart. The contact takes out both cars and leads to an on-track shoving match. Asked later what he and Montoya were talking about during the scuffle, Harvick replies, "I was talking about kicking his ass."

HOW BAD HAVE YOU GOT IT?
THE OFFICE of Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, urges congressional aides to get immunized for hepatitis A, hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria and influenza before going to races at Talladega and Lowe's on a fact-finding trip about health preparedness at mass gatherings. Lowe's president Humpy Wheeler terms the idea "laughable," saying, "It's like taping your ankles to go to the mailbox. This is not some third- or fourth-world country."

LITTLE E EQUALS MC-SQUARED?
A NEW book by University of Nebraska—Lincoln professor Diandra Leslie-Pelecky, The Physics of NASCAR, will explain everything from horsepower to aerodynamics to the distribution of force in a crash. Sounds great, but will it explain how Tony Stewart can climb that fence?

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