- Walter Novak
- Racing in their seats: Arcade drivers taste NASCAR glory.
On weekends, the lines stretch so long at the Silicon Motor Speedway that armchair Jeff Gordons wait more than an hour to pretend they're in the Daytona 500. SMS is Ohio's only simulated NASCAR track, where video screens encase race cars that accelerate up to 220 miles an hour during six-minute races. "They'll bank to the right, they'll bank to the left," says spokesman Nick Merkuloff. "The full-motion simulator makes you feel like you're really moving." But you might want to bring a barf bag. "We heard stories that we're going to have people puking, because they really do get shaky and disoriented," says Merkuloff. "But we haven't had one person say they didn't get their money's worth." It's open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at Gate A Speedway (inside Great Lakes Mall), 7850 Mentor Avenue in Mentor. One race costs $8.50; call 440-255-0144. -- Cris Glaser
Game? What Game?
If "Quarterback Jack" Miller isn't throwing Hail Marys in amateur-football leagues, he's scoring points with Punt, Pass & Give, a three-day pigskin party that kicks off with a meet-and-greet at 5 p.m. Thursday at Champps (21 Main Street in Westlake; 440-871-0313). It's followed at 6 p.m. Saturday with another party at Becky's (1762 East 18th Street; 216-621-0055). Assuming hangovers don't interfere, teams battle Sunday, in 10 simultaneous games of touch football. "Touch means no contact," says Miller. "This isn't kill-or-be-killed." Afterward, they'll celebrate with another party, this one at Bourbon Street Grille (2800 Whiskey Island Road; 216-631-1801), featuring an auction of sports memorabilia, like a Lebron-autographed basketball. "This is for fun," says Miller. "But it's also about love of the game." Kickoff is at 11 a.m. at Edgewater Park, 6500 Cleveland Memorial Shoreway. It's $25 to play; spectators should bring nonperishable food donations. Call 216-406-0955 for info. -- Cris Glaser
Up until last year, the Lakewood Ambulance Chase had one of the area's bumpiest running courses. "It was pothole-infested," recalls participant Mark Remaklus. "It always ran across my mind that the ambulance was there for obvious reasons." The 4th annual run, which includes a 5K race/walk and a one-mile walk, begins and ends at Lakewood Park on Sunday. In addition to great scenery this time of year, there are other perks awaiting contestants. "They always have the best food," says runner Sara Curran. Races start at 8:30 a.m. at Lakewood Park, 14532 Lake Avenue in Lakewood. Registration is $20; call 216-529-7009. -- Lucy McKernan