Anyone tired of seeing people steering toward the conservative right in Colorado Springs can watch them turn liberally left at Pikes Peak International Raceway today, when contestants speed counterclockwise around the one-mile oval during the U.S.A.C. Rocky Mountain Classic.
After the gates open at 9 a.m., fans will be able to watch drivers take practice laps with lightweight, low-horsepower midget cars; high-powered, transmission-less sprint cars; and heavier, stick-shift silver crowns. Qualifying runs and opening ceremonies are in the afternoon, with races in all three categories in the evening. The faithful will witness real competition, since drivers have set two world records at this $35 million facility just off I-25 outside of Fountain.
As the sun drops, inhabitants of the infield (reveling, no doubt, in the lack of age restrictions and dress code) can enjoy an autograph session with contestants. At 7:45 p.m., Hootie and the Blowfish take the stage as part of the package. Finally, fans with pep left in their coolers (sorry, no glass or alcohol allowed at Pikes Peak) can marvel at what's billed as southern Colorado's largest fireworks display. The fuses will be lit starting around 9:15 p.m.
Advance tickets are $15 for seniors sixty and over, $25 for adults and $5 for juniors six to fifteen; race-day walkups pay $5 more. For information, call 1-888-306-RACE or log on to www.ppir.com. -- Ben Hiller
Hot Shots 3 on 3 gives hoopsters a chance to groove. SAT, 7/2
While the Denver Nuggets-Domino's Pizza 3 on 3 basketball tournament won't feature hotshots such as And1 stars Skip to My Lou or The Professor, there will be plenty of heat to draw ballers to the street courts surrounding Civic Center Park. Starting today from around 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and continuing in the same slot Sunday, July 3, this traveling jam will allow hoops junkies to not only watch the local three-man teams compete, but also to join skill competitions themselves.
The Slam Dunk contest gives all players a chance to show off their creativity above the rim, while the Million Dollar Shot qualifying event offers (in theory) the chance to be Chauncey Billups for a moment. The fact that the Nuggets lack a reliable trey-shooter shouldn't discourage attendees from attempting the Three-Point shootout. And those with humbler skills can try the Pizza Pop-A-Shot, during which participants fling balls at a rim in hopes of winning a pizza party.
Even if Carmelo isn't expected, former Nugs stars, the Denver Nuggets Dancers and Rocky will be on hand to give props for hops. For information, log on to www.hoopitup.com. -- David Keating