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Sideshow: Daytona champ parties like it's 1999 at Oscar bash

By SHARON FINK
Published March 6, 2005


AND THE NOMINEES FOR BEST OSCAR WEEKEND PARTY EXPERIENCE ARE ... : Jeff Gordon had the chance to help NASCAR's diversity efforts and meet hot babes in one stop. He was among 50 people invited to Prince' s Los Angeles home for a post-Academy Awards concert, the New York Post said. His night included being congratulated for his Daytona 500 win and flirting with a model.

- "I hate your boyfriend," actor Maria Bello (Assault on Precinct 13, Eagles fan) sniped at actor Bridget Moynahan (I, Robot, girlfriend of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady) during an encounter at the Independent Spirit Awards on Oscar eve in Santa Monica, Calif. Not into the "stand by your man" thing, Moynahan responded, "Tell him yourself. He's here," New York's Daily News reported.

- Director Brett Ratner (Rush Hour 1, 2 and the planned 3) , seen briefly holding hands with Mariah Carey at mogul Barry Diller' s pre-Oscar powerfest, told the Daily News that he was simply directing Carey to the food and that he still is dating Serena Williams.

LOVE IS ALWAYS IN THE AIR: Kim Clijsters doesn't have a problem with the quickie rebound engagement of ex-fiance Lleyton Hewitt. She has hooked up with Luc Opdelocht, 25, a fellow Belgian, an electronics teacher, a former model and winner of 2000's Mr. Limburg (a Belgian province, not a cheese) contest. Bart Bijnens, sports editor for a Belgian newspaper, told Australia's Who magazine that Opdelocht is better looking than Hewitt.

- Australian Mark Philippoussis has set up a tennis nuptial showdown with Hewitt in their home country. He is engaged to 18-year-old Miami native-model-wannabe actor Alexis Barbara after five months of dating , a friend told Sydney's Daily Telegraph. Philippoussis, 28, wanted to keep it a secret, the friend said. But the "secret" came out last week after Philippoussis' ex Delta Goodrem , 20, and the Olivia Newton-John of her generation, said that contrary to her previous story, they broke up last year after she read in a newspaper that he and Paris Hilton had a fling.

BUT SOMETIMES LOVE'S AIR QUALITY ISN'T THAT GOOD: One-time NHLer Pavel Bure has endured "great moral suffering" because of "false claims" a Russian magazine attributed to him about his sex life with ex-girlfriend Anna Kournikova, his lawyer says. That's why he's suing it for $10.65-million, Dmitry Ragulin told Reuters. The magazine, Arbat Prestige, wouldn't comment. Kournikova spokeswoman Yulia Solntseva was quoted by the Izvestia newspaper as saying she hadn't heard any complaints from the tennis pinup.

CRUZIN' ALONG: Baby names aside, life in David Beckham's world continues to get better.

As he tries to regain his position as a world style leader as well as the world's best soccer player, Beckham and wife Victoria have made a deal with fragrance giant Coty to do perfume, Women's Wear Daily says. And he has a new Pepsi commercial in which he, Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez fight gangsters in the Hong Kong underworld (he took lessons in using a Japanese kendo sword, he tells Ananova.com).

As for the choice of Cruz as the name of his and Victoria's third son, joining Brooklyn and Romeo last month, average citizens ranging from a Spanish hotel worker to language experts have been happy to say that the child has been saddled with a girl's name.

SOME PRODUCTIONS WANT TO WIN ACADEMY AWARDS ...: And others strive simply to do for bowling what the Dorf videos did for golf. In the latter category is Life in the Bowling Lane, a 40-minute DVD about dating, relationships and bowling starring the paper-bag-on-the-head-wearing Unknown Comic and comedian Bob Zany. Writer-director-lifelong bowler Bobby Logan says his intent was to do a "funny tribute" to the sport. It can be purchased at www.UnknownBowler.com