9/25/2013 - Rollicking Coronado Speed Fest Concludes With Races, Awards
Gary Cox's 1958 Jaguar Special in repose in the paddock before its race at Coronado; this Group 1 beastie's body boasts fiberglass D-Type front end and modified Birdcage Maserati rear clip (photo: ©2013 Mike Silverman/Vintage
Coronado, CA - Wrapping up its seven-race season, the Historic Motor Sports Assn. threw a 240-car party on the runways of Naval Air Station North Island last weekend, with a special focus for the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911, and a rollicking group of some 30 2.5-Liter Historic Trans-Am racers (1966-72) paced by Grand Marshall Tony Adamowicz, who was series champion in 1968 in, fittingly, a Porsche 911.
The only race situated on an active military runway as it was done in "zee oldt days" on Strategic Air Command bases, the 16th annual Coronado Speed Festival put on a display of spirited but low-contact racing on the 11-turn, 1.44-mile course delineated by hundreds of orange cones and barrels. More than 10,000 spectators enjoyed a myriad of activities available at the festival. Diversions included tours of the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, static displays of military jets and 'copters, car shows and corrals, 16-team military pit crew challenge, 25-car Porsche 911 display (and laps of honor), plus test drives on coned courses of the latest models from BMW and Volkswagen.
Racing featured nine vintage run groups of all eras, from production cars, open-wheelers, FIA sports cars, sports racers and NASCAR, plus a 10th group of Playboy and Skip Barber MX-5 Cup cars contesting SCCA Pro Racing's 9th of 12 rounds.
Festivities began Friday morning with vintage racers offering track drives for helmeted passengers from the military and media, followed by afternoon practice. Spectators arriving Saturday saw morning practice and afternoon qualifying races, with Sunday morning practice leading to afternoon feature races. Participants and crew, along with military personnel were treated to a surprise advance screening Saturday night at the base theater of the Ron Howard-directed feature film "Rush," depicting the 1976 Formula 1 championship battle between Nicki Lauda and James Hunt, which opens nationwide this weekend.
Sunday evening's post-race awards ceremony took place on the USS Ronald Reagan, a hugely impressive example of American military prowess in both size and scope. Participants packed the hangar deck to enjoy a well-run awards ceremony which included a new Vintage Motorsport Heritage Award to acknowledge the driver and car with notable provenance, preparation and performance. The winner of the Stauer swiss chronograph was Robert Ryan of Avila Beach, CA, who tows and wrenches on his 1968 McLaren M6B. Ryan coincidentally won the Group 7 feature race, but not without a stiff challenge from Tom Malloy's 1969 Lola T70 coupe.
Following are the Coronado Speed Festival awards/winners:
Admiral's Trophy: Noel Park, 1917 Chevrolet Speedster
Extra Mile Trophy: Jeff Gerken, 1968 BMW 2002 TA
President's Trophy: John Goodman, 1972 Ferrari 312P Spl.
Briggs S. Cunningham Trophy: Newt Withers, 1994 Chevrolet Lumina NASCAR
Rookie Award: Addison Brown, 1966 Shelby GT350
Founder's Trophy: Cody Nelson, Fleet Week Director of Operations
Spirit of Coronado: Dan Verstuyft, 2001 Ford Taurus NASCAR
Stauer/Vintage Motorsport Heritage Award: Robert Ryan, 1968 McLaren M6B
Race Group Trophies
Group 1: Captain's Cup, Bill Lyon, 1960 Porsche RS 60
Group 2: USS Ronald Reagan Cup, Stan Rinne, 1961 Triumph Spitfire
Group 3, 'Nam-POW Cup, R. Gray Gregory, 1974 Chevron B26
Group 4, Naval Air Forces Cup, Steve Thein, 1967 Porsche 910
Group 5, San Diego Cup, Dean Watts, 1964 Porsche 901
Group 6, President's Cup, Mark Cane, 1966 Shelby GT350
Group 7, Coronado Cup, Steve Schuler, 1991 Roush Ford Mustang
Group 8, American's Cup, Ron Myska, 1969 Ford Talladega
Group 9. Fleet Week Cup, Terry Forland, 1968 BMW 2002