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LA.COMFIDENTIAL.

NASCAR revving up for weekend racing

NASCAR and Hollywood collided Wednesday night at Avalon nightclub, where micro-miniskirted girls and blue-jeaned guys asked the ever-burning question: Why does that place always smell so bad? The moldy funk (our vote is it exudes from that dank carpet that coats the place) didn't slow down the "California Speedway's Running Wide Open" celebration, created by that Fontana track's president, Gillian Zucker, to drum up awareness for their Labor Day weekend races. It certainly helped to have DJ AM blasting tunes, and singer Rihanna belting out an hour set of her hits -- that after she and Jeff Gordon kicked off the party by doing doughnuts in a tricked-out Corvette (he drove!) in the parking lot. Gordon and his second wife, Belgian model Ingrid Vandebosch, left their new baby at home and snuggled front-and-center in the plush VIP pits overlooking the stage. Fellow NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya joined them early; later Paris and Nicky Hilton, Brandon Davis, Aaron Eckhart, and plenty of other drivers -- Carl Edwards, Reed Sorenson, Robby Gordon, Denny Hamlin, and Davis Stremme -- jammed the velour-carpeted pits. Everyone shrieked to be heard over the chest-thumping bass pumping out of the speakers, including one very blond onlooker, who shouted a bit too loudly the fact that anyone who has ever met him already knows about this season's current NASCAR lead driver Jeff Gordon.

"I can't believe he is so short!" she giggled. Look for the little guy to take the pole in today's Sharp AQUOS 500.

>JENNY PETERS/SPYWITNESS

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Driver Jeff Gordon and singer Rihanna arrive at the California Speedway's "Running Wide Open in Hollywood" event at Avalon.

MICHAEL BUCKNER>GETTY IMAGES
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Title Annotation:LA.COM
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 2, 2007
Words:282
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