It's been three years since stock cars first crashed (O.K., poor word choice) the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In the interim, NASCAR has supplanted the Indy Car circuit as the nation's—and the Brickyard's—favorite spectator speed sport. This year's running will mark the 400's fourth straight sellout, whereas scalpers at May's Indy 500 were selling ducats at half price. Is it any wonder that Winston Cup points leader Jeff Gordon, winner of the inaugural 400, is the first driver to appear in a mustache ad for milk, heretofore linked with the winner of the Indy 500?
?ABC, 1 PM
TRACK & FIELD
World Outdoor Championships
Despite her initials, M.J., and the fact that as a freshman guard she helped lead the North Carolina basketball team to the NCAA title, Marion Jones (left) is more often compared with history's greatest track and field athlete than with the world's greatest hoopster. It's a comparison she downplays. "My name is Marion Jones and not Carl Lewis," said Jones, 21, after winning the 100 meters and the long jump at last month's nationals in Indianapolis, where the Palmdale, Calif., native turned in what then were this year's best marks in the world in both events (10.92 seconds and 22'9"). This week in Athens Jones also will run in the 4x100 relay when the swiftest and strongest from 200 nations convene.
? NBC, SATURDAY, 2 PM, AND SUNDAY, 1 PM (TAPE-DELAY)
Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
Whether pushing the baseball forward with his fingernail grip or managing the female Colorado Silver Bullets, Phil Niekro has refused to knuckle under to baseball convention. Now knuckleballer Niekro (318-274 lifetime) makes the pilgrimage to Cooperstown, to be inducted with late Chicago White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox, Negro leagues shortstop Willie Wells and former Los Angeles Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, the 14th skipper to be enshrined—"but the first Italian," Lasorda says. "Don't forget that." His speech alone may be worth tuning in for.
? ESPN2, 5:30 PM
Raiders at Cowboys
Football coaches seem to say "Bye, George" more often than does My Fair Lady's Henry Higgins. Quarterback Jeff George, Oakland's newest dead-end-kid signee, is playing for his third NFL club in eight seasons. But that's not why George will don number 3 for Oakland's preseason opener at Texas Stadium. Raiders owner Al Davis pushed the jersey on him in hopes that George might assume the attributes of a previous wearer, Daryle Lamonica, who pioneered Oakland's vertical passing game in the '60s. "The number's not really important to me," says George (above, in a practice jersey). "But if it's important to others, I'll [wear] it."
?TNT, 8 PM
Montell Griffin vs. Roy Jones Jr.
How about an undercard of Montel Williams against Jenny Jones? Or dilettante pugilist Geraldo Rivera against Phil Donahue, whose 1986 fracas with a nuclear-weapons supporter led the no-nukes, pro-dukes talk show host to say, "If you drop a bomb on my neighborhood, I can't prove that I'm tough"? It was Roy Jones (34-1) who landed two bombs—a right, then a left—on the mug of Griffin (27-0) in the ninth round of their WBC light heavyweight title bout in March. Trouble was, Griffin (below, left, in their first fight) had gone to one knee before the punches landed, and Jones was disqualified. Having won the title lying facedown, Griffin wants to retain it standing. "He hit me with a cheap shot," says Griffin. "I just want to get the man back in the ring."
?PAY-PER-VIEW, 9 PM
All times Eastern. Schedules are subject to change.