In the era of the ever-shortening attention span, what better sport to nominate as our national pastime than one that is over and done with in 10 seconds? Add in some righteous speed, cars that run on the equivalent of rocket fuel, and the ever-present potential for disaster, and it's easy to see why jet-powered drag racing is a sport we can get fired up about. Speed is the drug of choice at "Jets vs. Funny Cars Too," at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 19, at Firebird International Raceway, 20000 South Maricopa Road in Chandler. Jet cars, funny cars, and the return of the wild, nitro-burning, fuel-altered cars promise plenty of action on the quarter-mile track. The evening also includes skydivers, a fireworks spectacular, and an exclusive appearance by the 60,000-pound mechanical car-eating dinosaur "Robosaurus."
Tickets are $24 for general admission, plus $10 for a pit pass, and another $7 for general parking. Call 602-268-0200 or visit www.firebirdraceway.com. --Craig Wallach
Watch your toes at the Scorpion Hunt on June 19
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For fans of inspirational citations, "leave no stone unturned" is always a winner. And for those heading out to the Scorpion Hunt at Lake Pleasant on Saturday, June 19, "no pain, no gain" might be an apt -- albeit unfortunate -- addendum. Still, if creepy night crawlers get your arachnologist juices flowing, the park ranger is your pimp of the poisonous pest. Ranger's best advice: Wear solid shoes. Meet up at 8 p.m. at the Lake Pleasant Visitor Center, about 30 miles north of Phoenix, with the $5 park entry fee. For directions, see www.maricopa.gov/parks. --Joe Watson
Fun 'n games at the Grand Canyon
Understand, Erik Widmark is enthusiastic about the 2004 Grand Canyon State Games, Arizona's amateur Olympic-style exhibition in which about 8,000 medals will be awarded. But when Widmark, GCSG executive director, mentions the opening ceremonies on Thursday, June 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Wells Fargo Arena, the excitement builds to a crescendo, thanks to Spanky Spangler. "He's the world's number-one stunt man!" Widmark says, gleefully. That's Spangler's moniker, all right -- and he'll prove it when he jumps from the arena's rafters to open the 12th running of the games, which features competitors ages 3 to 99 in 42 different sports from Thursday through Sunday, June 20. Opening ceremonies also include the Harlem Globetrotters and Jesse McGuire trumpeting the national anthem. Wells Fargo Arena is located at the intersection of Sixth Street and Packard in Tempe. Admission is free. See www.gcsg.org for details. --Joe Watson