KING FISH: Jeff Conine, leftfielder for the World Series champion Florida Marlins, was named honorary chairman for the Ford 400 NASCAR Winston Cup Series season finale Nov. 16 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
There is no word whether legendary foul-ball interferer Steve Bartman will attend, but if he does, it might be wise to keep him far away from points leader Matt Kenseth. We don't need Bartman fouling up another championship.
HELP: Lowe's, sponsor of Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 NASCAR Winston Cup entry, will donate $10,000 to the American Red Cross and $48 for every lap he completes at Phoenix this Sunday to generate funds for the victims of California wildfires.
An increasing number of Winston Cup teams is announcing similar plans.
ACME RACING COMPANY: Jeff Gordon makes his silver screen debut in November with a cameo in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, and he and Kevin Harvick, Steve Park and Brian Vickers will drive cars with Looney Tunes-themed paint schemes on Sunday at Phoenix.
"Ha! Them varmints'd go faster on the Metro," Yosemite Sam in a press release. Or was that Jimmy Spencer?
ENOUGH ALREADY: Officials at California Speedway and CART took turns sniping about each others' sensitivity before concentrating their efforts to help victims of area wildfires. Speedway officials implied that CART was angered by the track's decision to cancel the race on Tuesday, and league CEO Chris Pook issued his own press release Thursday outlining CART's involvement in the humanitarian effort.
According to the CART release, the league has offered to set up hospitality units at evacuation centers to feed the displaced. Food pre-ordered for the race will be donated to the effort. CART has also donated use of its traveling trauma center, and four Californians _ John O'Brien, Lars Hanson, Greg Hitchcock and Lloyd Mokler _ who are members of the CART safety teams are actively helping to fight fires.
LOOK OUT: Nobody better mess with Kenny Wallace at Phoenix this weekend. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound (maybe) Winston Cup driver, who plays it mild-mannered in television commercials and with fans, will be backed up by 5-4, 118-pound WWE wrestler Trish Stratus this weekend. Stratus will be in town to as part of a promotion for Stacker2, the primary sponsor for Wallace's No. 23 Dodge.
PIONEER: A 20-year-old Chinese driver could become the first from his country to drive in Formula One, after earning a test with the Williams racing team. Ho-Pin Tung, winner of the Asian Formula BMW championship, was born in Wenzhou, but grew up in the Netherlands.
His 12 poles and 10 wins in the 14-race series were enough to convince the Munich-based team.
"We've been watching Ho-Pin very carefully," Williams motorsport director Mario Theissen told Reuters.
Shanghai is scheduled to host China's first F1 race in September.
_ BRANT JAMES