Sun 10/3
Remember learning how to drive in an empty parking lot behind the Quik Mart? Yeah, so does the neighborhood's now-three-legged dog. While the drivers competing in the NASCAR Double Header at Phoenix International Raceway, 125 South Avondale Boulevard, on Sunday, October 3, possess more refined skills behind the wheel, the weekend's events are meant to provide some drivers' ed -- only at 140, not 14, mph.

"What these two [races] are is the equivalent of the minor leagues to the majors in baseball," says PIR's Mike Prusinski, referring to Sunday's JC's Glass 100 and Subway 150 races. Qualifying for both races takes place on Saturday. "The cars possess a little less horsepower than those on the major circuit, but they're basically the same."

The first event of PIR's fall racing season features Phoenix's Darrell LaMoure and recent ASU grad Nick Lynch competing in the JC's Glass 100 -- an AutoZone Elite Division race at 1 p.m. Sunday -- and Indy Series fave Sarah Fisher, who drives in the Grand National Division race, the Subway 150, at 3 p.m.

But the weekend partying begins Friday, off-track, at the F1 Factory, 44th Street just south of Washington, where the drivers will be on hand for a meet-and-greet with fans from 6 to 8 p.m. For tickets to the races, $29 to $100, call 602-252-2227orsee -- Joe Watson

Par Gazers

Pros swing into Wild Horse Pass

Mon 10/4
Golfing with friends is a much treasured pastime in the Valley. Golfing with pros? We'll drop our friends in a heartbeat for some help with our putts and pitches. Opportunity knocks starting at noon Monday, October 4, at Whirlwind Golf Club at Wild Horse Pass Resort, 5692 North Loop Road in Chandler, where the Nationwide Pro-Am features notables Kevin Stadler and Dave Stockton Jr. (sons of PGA Tour pros Craig and Dave Sr., respectively), as well as Daniel Chopra.

The three-day Pro-Am leads up to the Nationwide Gila River Classic, beginning October 7 at Whirlwind.

The event isexpectedto raise more than $400,000 for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Phoenix. For tickets andinformation, see Joe Watson