According to the folks at the International Hot Boat Association, the premier site in the U.S. for drag-boat racing is right here in the desert. No, they aren't high on nitro-methane. They're talking about Firebird International Raceway, host of the 2005 IHBA Coors Light World Finals. From Thursday, November 17, through Sunday, November 20, you can watch the best vessels hydroplane down FIR's quarter-mile liquid track in a competition that will decide this year's season champion. The weekend begins at 10 a.m. Thursday, with testing and tuning of the blisteringly fast boats -- including top fuel and alcohol hydros, as well as pro gas and top alcohol flats. Friday's and Saturday's qualifying rounds will determine who participates in the big finales on Sunday. Drivers in boat racing's equivalent of the major leagues -- the top fuel hydro class -- will attempt to surpass the all-time IHBA speed record of 245.76 miles per hour, set back in 2001. John Haas, the current national series point leader in the top division, will be vying for his first title. Daily race tickets begin at $20, and weekend combo packages, which include a pit pass and free access to the interactive Kid Zone, start at $61. Firebird is located at 20000 South Maricopa Road in Chandler. For tickets and schedule information, visit www.firebirdraceway.com. -- Steve Jansen
Sweet rides in Scottsdale
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The toaster look is all the rage on the road right now, but back in the day, all the cool cars had curves, constructed of sleek steel and shiny chrome. Beauties like li'l deuce coupes and '57 Chevys still make the best eye candy, and they'll roll into Scottsdale in all their show 'n' shine glory at the Goodguys 8th Southwest Nationals, taking place Saturday, November 19, and Sunday, November 20. DJ Dave provides '50s and '60s tunes at the event, which features more than 2,000 vintage vehicles (all pre-1973), including hot-rod roadsters, Mustangs, Camaros, and custom 1950s Mercedes models. Gates open at 8 a.m. each day at WestWorld, 16601 West Pima Road. Admission costs $6 to $15. Call 480-312-6802. -- Niki D'Andrea