Sports you can watch
Major League stars of tomorrow can be seen in action between June and early August playing for the Fayetteville SwampDogs at J.P. Riddle Stadium.
Current major leaguers such as David Aardsma (Seattle) and Mark Reynolds (Baltimore) are among the alumni who have played for the collegiate summer league franchise. Just this season, ex-Fayetteville outfielder Andy Dirks made his big- league debut with the Detroit Tigers.
In addition to a 27-game home schedule in 2011, the SwampDogs also hosted the Coastal Plain League All-Star Game on July 18.
Minor league hockey has been a winter staple at the Crown Coliseum since it opened in 1997. The Fayetteville FireAntz are charter members of the Southern Professional Hockey League, which formed in 2004. Fayetteville boasts one of the league's most successful franchises, having led the league in total attendance three times and cracking the 9,000 mark for a game on a half-dozen occasions.
In 2006-07, the Antz captured the SPHL President's Cup championship, beating the Jacksonville (Fla.) Barracudas in four games. Goalie Chad Collins was the MVP of that playoff series, the same year that forward Rob Sich won the first of two SPHL Most Valuable Player trophies. The team was then runner-up to Knoxville in 2008-09.
In 2011-12, the FireAntz will have a new coach in Mark DeSantis, who played in 1,001 minor league games before retiring as a player. Among the players expected to return are league scoring champion Chris Leveille of Guelph, Ontario, and goalie Mike Spillane of Bow, N.H., who set an SPHL record with a 2.42 goals-against average last season
The Cape Fear region is a hotbed for racing, covering the gamut from pickup trucks at one of seven dragstrips to blazing Late Models at Rockingham Speedway.
Temperate weather allows for racing about nine months out of the year, including three dirt stock-car tracks and an asphalt oval within an hour's drive.
The upper-echelon events for regional and national touring series include: World of Outlaws Late Model (Fayetteville Motor Speed way) and Carolina Clash (Fayetteville, Dublin Motor Speedway); PASS South, USAR Pro Cup and UARA for asphalt Late Models (Dillon Motor Speedway, Rockingham Speedway); All Harley Drag Racing Association and American Drag Racing League (Rockingham Dragway); and IHRA's Summit Pro-Am circuit (Rockingham Dragway, Dunn-Benson Dragstrip).