SAN DIEGO, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Coronado Speed Festival is the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation's marquee event and therefore its most spectacular opportunity to fulfill its mission to honor San Diego's military, and the 2010 event took the checkered flag in many ways.
Soldiers and Sailors Taken to the Fast Lane
Each year, Coronado Speed Festival hosts a VIP Day on Friday before the racing gets started, this year September 24, where members of the military get the chance to take pace laps with the race car drivers in their rubber-burning automobiles. A pace lap may sound tame, but these drivers don't hold back – speeds easily climb upwards to 100 mph. "I wasn't sure about coming today because I'm on about six of nine lives right now," says Clayton Jarolimek, a Marine 1st Lieutenant home recovering after sustaining a head injury from an IED in Afghanistan. "But I rode in one of the drift cars and it was an absolute adrenaline rush. Even though we were drifting the driver was in complete control. It was such a blast for me."
Over 300 rides were taken in about three hours, many of those by sailors aboard the USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier docked at Naval Air Station North Island. Their ship was to be part of the Navy Open House at the weekend's event, and the sailors were awarded for their working weekend with thrill rides. "The experience was fantastic," said one crewman. "It almost felt like a backseat ride on an F18, but on all four wheels pulling Gs."
Also being honored that day were 16 wounded veterans that are part of the Racing for Our Heroes program founded by Jason Carter, a former Marine and professional Porsche racer. "Many of the warriors we work with have spent the past 10 to 15 months in the hospital in rehab and this is their first experience out," he says. "Speed Festival is the neatest event we do every year – very unique and historic with the very rare cars that are here."
Drivers That Make a Difference
It's not just on the track that Speed Festival's drivers are making a difference. Dan Haney, driver of a Datsun 510 and also a former Marine, owns a company that makes prosthetics. In 2002 he founded Afghanistan Christian Technical Services (ACTS) – an organization that collects gently used prosthetics and sends them to Afghanistan and donates them to the Afghani civilians who have been casualties of the fighting around them.
"We're just trying to help the Afghani people because they have such big mountains to climb," says Haney. ACTS sent a full-sized container in 2002 and 2003, and Haney plans another trip for later this year.
And The Winners Are. . .
Of course, Speed Festival is also about racing. The entrants are divided into nine groups. The winner for each of the groups is:
Race 1 – 1952 – 1959 Sports and Production Drum Brakes: John Goodman, #33 1958 Devin SS
Race 2 – 1953 – 1966 Production Cars under 2000cc: Bill Lyon, #57 1961 Morgan Plus 4
Race 3 – 1962 – 1972 Sports Racing and Formula Cars under 2000cc: Nick Smith, #19 1968 Brabham BT21C
Race 4 – 1969 – 1980 Sports Racing and Formula Cars under 2000cc: Dan Marvin, #69 1976 March 76B
Race 5 – 1959 – 1966 Production Cars: Jeff Kline, #4 1964 Ginetta G4
Race 6 – 1965 – 1988 FIA Manufacturer Championship Cars: Robert Ryan, #2 1968 McLaren M6B
Race 7 – 1962 – 1966 Productions Cars over 2500cc: James Constantinidis, #196 1971 Chevrolet Corvette
Race 8 – Historic NASCAR: Garrett Cosgrove, #2 1999 Ford Taurus
Race 9 – 1966 - 1972 Historic Trans-AM: Jim Hague, #2 1971 AMC Javelin
About the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation
The Coronado Speed Festival is Fleet Week San Diego's preeminent event. Fast-paced, thrilling auto racing and exhibitions for car enthusiasts for all ages mark the widespread draw of this event. Staged at one of racings' most distinctive locations – Naval Air Station North Island, the birthplace of Naval Aviation – it's the only place to see live racing on an active U.S. Navy runway.
The San Diego Fleet Week Foundation is a nonprofit, public benefit corporation. In addition to honoring the military services through the annual Fleet Week events, the Foundation's goals are to foster awareness of the contributions made by enlisted military personnel and their families, to enhance relationships between the civilian, business and military communities, to provide events that military personnel and their families can attend at little or no cost, and to raise funds for charitable efforts benefiting enlisted service members and their families.
For more information, or for a complete listing of all of the Fleet Week events, please visit www.fleetweeksandiego.org or you can find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fleetweeksd or follow us on twitter at www.twitter.com/fleetweeksd.
SOURCE San Diego Fleet Week Foundation