Maybe your clunker has the heart of a champion
Think your Ford pickup could beat a Chevelle with a souped-up engine? Then give it a try at Safe Street Nights at the Houston Raceway Park in Baytown, which are open to anyone with the guts to compete. The park also has more elite races; fans can see superfast "funny cars" -- consisting of engines with fiberglass frames and not much else -- racing the quarter-mile drag strip. And the "rail" dragsters (those are the long, skinny ones) should satisfy visitors who want to see some real speed. Also satisfying visitors is the race park beverage of choice: the tallboy.
Sometimes exceeding speeds of 180 miles per hour, with noise levels to match, the race cars on the quarter-mile strip are definitely badass. Gates open at 5 p.m. Fridays for Safe Street Nights. The Texas Shootout Motorcycle Series/Super Series drag races happen from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 29, and Sunday, March 30. Houston Raceway Park, 2525 FM 565 South. For information, call 281-383-7223 or visit www.houstonraceway.com. $8; $5 for children seven to 12; free for children seven and under. -- Eric Norvell
You don't have to be a tennis fan to appreciate John McEnroe, but it helps. As a player, his hall of fame career featured some of the most sensational play in tennis history. As a personality, his irreverence helped erode the game's stuffy image and inject it with soul. "You cannot be serious!" still echoes through stadiums around the world. Now retired, Mac stays active; recently, he became a best-selling author. He never won the River Oaks International Tennis Tournament (the oldest event of its kind in the States), but he'll stop in for a book signing and exhibition match on Thursday, April 3. Mac isn't the only star to grace the River Oaks Country Club's red clay this year. The players' list includes Rainer Schuttler, Xavier Malisse, James Blake and Greg Rusedski, who are all ranked among the top 50 in the world. 1:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. sessions Monday, March 31, through Friday, April 4. 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m. sessions Saturday, April 5. 2 p.m. finals Sunday, April 6. River Oaks Country Club, 1600 River Oaks Boulevard. For information, call 713-529-4321. $200. -- Troy Schulze