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Morning briefing

June 14, 2008|Jim Peltz | Times Staff Writer

Money can come fast too

There's a lot of money to be made turning left.

Jeff Gordon was the highest-earning driver on the NASCAR Sprint Cup circuit over the past year, making $32 million, including $17 million from endorsements and royalties on merchandise, Forbes magazine estimated.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was a close second at $31 million, but that income was split between his family team, which he left after last season, and Hendrick Motorsports, which he joined this year.

With a higher salary and better cars at Hendrick, Forbes expects Earnhardt -- NASCAR's most popular driver -- "to blow past teammate Jeff Gordon in overall earnings during the next year."

Another Hendrick driver, reigning champion Jimmie Johnson, was third at $23 million, followed by Tony Stewart, at $19 million, and Kasey Kahne at $14 million.

Hendrick was the most valuable NASCAR team at $335 million, Forbes estimated.

Trivia time

What year did Gordon win his first Cup race, and where?

Hold that line

At least one Canadian politician isn't wild about the idea of the NFL moving into his country.

Larry Campbell, a British Columbia senator, introduced a bill to prevent the NFL from putting an expansion team in Canada or relocating an existing franchise there.

His reason: To protect the Canadian Football League.

Campbell's move came in response to plans to hold eight Buffalo Bills games in Toronto over the next five years, starting with a game against the Miami Dolphins on Dec. 7, the Associated Press reported.

Some see the games as a possible precursor to the Bills moving north permanently.

"As proud Canadians and fans of the CFL, we must make every effort to defend our own brand of football," he said.

All dressed up

It might be 2008, but if you're lucky enough to gain access to the most exclusive section at the Ascot horse-racing event in England, you still have to dress the part.

Concerned about slipping standards, Ascot officials have reminded patrons with access to the event's Royal Enclosure -- the area traditionally visited by Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip -- that they dress appropriately when the five-day event starts Tuesday.

That means no skimpy dresses, strapless tops or short skirts for women and "gentlemen are required to wear either black or grey morning dress, including a waistcoat, with a top hat which must be worn at all times," Ascot said on its website.

"Those not complying with the dress code will be asked to leave the Royal Enclosure and will be relieved of their Royal enclosure badge."

Badges? How tacky.

Got it, flaunt it

Speaking of dressing appropriately . . .

With the European media already hyperventilating over whether soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo might leave Manchester United to play for more money with Real Madrid, Ronaldo himself turned up the frenzy a notch.

After the 23-year-old led Portugal's 3-1 win over the Czech Republic in the European Championship on Thursday, the British tabloid Daily Mail spotted him leaving the team hotel in Neuchatel, Switzerland.

Ronaldo was wearing a navy blue T-shirt that read: "Champ! $$"

Trivia answer

The four-time champion's first win came at the Coca-Cola 600 in 1994 at what is now Lowe's Motor Speedway near Charlotte.

And finally

Atlanta Braves ace John Smoltz, 41, acknowledged Friday that his shoulder surgery this week to fix "five or six problems" has ended other pitchers' careers.

That prompted the website Fark.com to conclude: "In other words, Smoltz is going to Cooperstown in '13."

--

james.peltz@latimes.com

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