Danica’s Last (Indy) Ride

It will be a big weekend for Valley gearheads as three events roll into Las Vegas, highlighted by the IZOD IndyCar World Championships at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway at noon Oct. 16.

Not only will the series championship be decided in the final race for the sixth straight season (points leader Dario Franchitti has an 18-point edge over Will Power), the event also marks Danica Patrick’s final IndyCar race before turning her attention to NASCAR full time in 2012.

“I’m ready for change,” said Patrick, 29, who will drive for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports next season. “There will be things and people I miss about IndyCar, especially on frustrating weekends. I’ll think, ‘Well, I came here in IndyCar and it was so much easier.’ But I’m excited about the change, and I’m not afraid of it.”

Patrick won only one race during her seven-year Indy career, but she leaves a lasting mark. She sped into the racing spotlight in 2005 when she became the first woman to lead a lap in the Indianapolis 500; that year, she also posted the best-ever finish for a woman with her fourth-place showing.

If Patrick wants to further broaden her motorsports portfolio, this is the perfect time for browsing. The Indy race shares the speedway this weekend with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, which starts at 12:30 p.m. Oct. 15. (Tickets: LVMS.com) Meanwhile, the Monster Energy Cup—an invitation-only showcase for the world’s top supercross racers—takes place at 7 p.m. Oct. 15 at Sam Boyd Stadium ( UNLVTickets.com).