Kind of a Drag 

7/30-8/1

Do drag racers use POWERade in their machines? Or do they run on Miller Lite? Yup, massive corporate sponsorship of sports events continues apace. You think the MLB and NFL are bad? Check out auto racing sometime. At least FRAM and Autolite manufacture actual auto parts, which makes the FRAM-Autolite Nationals at Infineon Raceway this weekend sound a little better than, say, the Spider-Man 2 Nationals. Competitors in three National Hot Rod Association professional categories -- Top Fuel, Funny Car, and Pro Stock -- will burn rubber aplenty at Infineon (Highways 37 and 121, Sonoma) Friday through Sunday, including Larry Dixon and his 8,000-horsepower dragster, part of the Don "Snake" Prudhomme team. For all that sponsorship, tickets ain't cheap: $30-$45 adult general, depending on which day, from 800-870-7223 or Ticketmaster.com -- Kelly Vance

SAT 7/31

Main Sustain

Ducks, goats, and bikes

Been thinking it's time to step up your efforts from the occasional Bike-to-Work Day and choosing paper over plastic? Let the Ecology Center be your guide this Saturday on the Fifth Annual Urban Sustainability Bike Tour. Meet East Bay folks who are reducing their impact on the planet by designing gardens that reduce water use, using wind or solar energy, developing bike technology -- even raising chickens, ducks, and goats. Network with cool people and receive a free resource guide about unusual backyard projects that can help you tread more lightly in a city environment. Meet at 10 a.m. at Ashby BART (east side) and spend the day biking or rolling around the area. All sites are wheelchair accessible. Free, but bring a lunch and water. More info: EcologyCenter.org or 510-548-2220 ex. 233. -- Annika Dukes

SAT 7/31

Hillbillies

Feel like a challenge?

Q: What's fifteen and a quarter miles long, costs $65, and is Very Challenging? A: The Very Challenging Second Annual Carquinez Triathlon Challenge. Billed as "The most challenging sprint in the San Francisco Bay Area," Saturday's event features an "easy" quarter-mile swim across the Carquinez Strait, a twelve-mile bike tour over some tough hills (the Very Challenging part), and a hilly three-mile run (also pretty damn difficult), starting at noon at Shore Line Park on Carquinez Scenic Drive in Crockett. The organizers (appropriately, this is a fund-raiser for the Challenged Athletes Foundation) claim that most of the course will have little or no traffic. Hope that's true. Last year's winners finished with times of 1:13, 1:16, and 1:20. But of course you can do better. Entry fee is $65 ($25 of which is a donation to the fund in your name). Register online at Active.com or phone 510-787-9811. -- Kelly Vance

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