NASCAR returns with the Charter Pipeline 250

We kicked Saddam Hussein's ass -- now let's pop the corks on a few barrels of his oil and go racing.

Why not head out to the Charter Pipeline 250 (Gateway International Raceway, 700 Raceway Boulevard, Madison, Illinois, May 9-10) and support the troops with a little grandstand-rattling "shock and awe" campaign, NASCAR-style?

The hood of Bobby Hamilton Jr.'s Number 25 Ford will be painted with the insignia of the U.S. Marines, and Ashton Lewis Jr.'s Number 46 Chevrolet is sponsored by the Civil Air Patrol. If you're not feeling patriotic, you can always root for hometown hero Kenny Wallace in his one-time-only St. Louis Cardinals Chevrolet.

After the race, put your political, sports and ideological differences aside and enjoy a free concert by country-music act Lonestar. Does NASCAR have a nation-building division?

Tickets are available at 866-35-SPEED or www.gatewayraceway.com. Gates open at noon on Friday for practice/qualifying and at 11 a.m. on Saturday, followed by opening ceremonies at 12:50 p.m. and the checkered flag at 2 p.m. -- Tom Arterburn

What About Ed?
Belated booty for B-baller

TUES 5/13

This is quite a week for NBA Hall of Famer and former St. Louis Hawk "Easy" Ed Macauley. After Sunday's induction into the St. Louis Walk of Fame (see Urban Experience), he heads to the Missouri Athletic Club on Tuesday to pick up an award the NBA neglected to give him: the trophy for being MVP of the very first All-Star game, in 1951. KFNS-AM sponsors the Night of Basketball Honors, which also includes dinner, awards for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch men's and women's All-Metro (high school) first teams and emcee Bob "the Great Enunciator" Costas (6 p.m., $75, 314-539-4470). -- Byron Kerman

Fish Upon a Star

SAT 5/10

If you've been busted twice already this year for skipping out of work and hanging the "Gone Fishin'" sign on your chair, you should seriously consider quitting fishing. Yeah, we know -- never gonna happen. Instead, change your hours of operation. The St. Louis County Parks allow late-night fishing in their stocked lakes the second Saturday of every month. Bee Tree Park, Creve Coeur Park, Suson Park and Spanish Lake Park are all open until 11 p.m., and you already know there's no bad time to fish, so what are you waiting for? You need a fishing license and all Missouri Wildlife Code regulations apply, but there's no danger of the boss' chewing you out. Now, your spouse is another story. Call 314-615-4374 for specifics. -- Paul Friswold