Chicken poop and other stupid tax tricks
24 + 77 = 6th alone

Time for a nice Sunday drive

Now that tax season is over (or mostly over; details on extended deadlines here and in the Tax Calendar in the right column), we have time for some more relaxing pursuits. Like the proverbial motoring of the headline.

And who better to provide a road map than Mark Tapscott with his latest Carnival of Cars at Straightline.

2007_mini_cooper_3This week he brings us intriguing, and oxymoronic, news of a maxi Mini, a more optimistic view of GM's future (good news to us Bowtie fans) and, I am pleased to say, my item on stupid tax tricks (if you read it, you already know the car connection).

Of course, this is just a peek at the Carnival of Cars, so click on over there for Mark's full "Drive Around the Auto Blog,"

A faster Sunday drive: Forty-three competitors and 143,000-plus fans will be at Talladega this afternoon for the NASCAR race on what is billed the world's fastest track.

One of the sport's two restrictor plate sites, everybody will be on the lookout for "the big one," the wreck at nearly 200 mph that collects a good number of the cars.

But many also will be watching for the race's historic possibilities.

Jeff Gordon, viewed as the savior of a niche sport if you're a fan of the 24 car or as an interloper who's helped ruin real racin' if you're not, took the pole for today's race. It's his 60th top starting spot, the most pole positions in NASCAR's modern era.

Gordon's hoping to be the first driver to take today's checkered flag. Not only will it pad his series lead, it will give Gordon 77 wins, breaking the record-book tie he attained last Sunday by winning at Phoenix.

And who did he tie at 76 victories? The late Dale Earnhardt.

Right time, right place? Talladega was one of Earnhardt's best tracks. His 76th victory was at the Alabama superspeedway. And today would have been his 56th birthday.

If you believe in the power of fans to control sporting event outcomes (and we sports fans do harbor such feelings of guilt for losses or delusions of power for wins), you've got to believe that the millions of #3 and #8 fans will exert all their psychic powers to prevent a Gordon win.

Wonderboy_and_ironhead_advice_2But you've also got to know that Jeff is going to eventually take solo possession of sixth place in the NASCAR wins column. And Dale, being the kind of competitor he was, probably wouldn't mind sharing that occasion at Talladega with the young driver he helped mentor.

Speeding to the bank: NASCAR stars Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart made Sports Illustrated's "Fortunate 50" list, compiled last summer, of top-earning U.S. athletes.

On the worldwide earnings scale, recently-retired Formula 1 champion Michael Schumacher raked in the most money. F1 colleagues Ralf Schumacher (Michael's younger brother) and reigning series champ Fernando Alonso of Spain also were in the global top 20.

No women made the U.S. list. One, Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova, came in fourth in the international earnings ranking. As fellow female blogger Mapgirl notes, it's still a man's world out there.


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