1959 Porsche 356 - Chuck Christensen
1959 Porsche 356 - Chuck Christensen

Coronado Speed Festival 2016 – Report and Photos

The Coronado Speed Festival 2016 was held September 16-18 at Naval Air Station North Island in Coronado, California. This year marked the 81st anniversary of Fleet Week in San Diego and for the past 19 years, the Coronado Speed Festival has been part of this annual event. This end of summer celebration brought locals and far-away enthusiasts to the Naval Air Station (NAS) North Island to enjoy the sights and sounds of vintage racing.

Each year, NAS Coronado constructs a temporary 1.7-mile course on the runways and taxiways of the Naval Air Station for the ‘Race at the Base’. Race fans enjoyed a weekend of racing with the various race classes that participated, as well as an open paddock — where the cars are worked on and the drivers prepare themselves for their time on the race track. The weekend also included rubber-burning stunts by X Games and Red Bull Stunt Athlete Aaron Colton. Attendees to the Coronado Speed Festival 2016 also had access to numerous vendors, food stands, car club corrals and several military vehicles and aircraft on display. Racing and car aficionados, along with their families and friends, had a lot to see, eat and experience throughout the race weekend.

Notable and interesting entrants at the 2016 Speed Festival included Cameron Healy’s 1953 Cooper Porsche ‘Pooper’; Steve Hinton’s 1968 Lola T70 Spyder; Adam Carolla’s 1972 Datsun 610; Al Arciero’s 1958 Lister Knobbly; Don Tevini’s 1959 Porsche 356 and Michael Halbert’s 1976 Datsun 280Z. My favorite was Joe Scarbo’s 1967 Ferrari 312 F1 replica.

The field for both days included several Shelby Mustang GT350s, Porsche 911s, Chevrolet Corvettes, Alfa Romeos, open wheel formula cars, sports cars and NASCAR racers, both contemporary and vintage. The Pre-War racers were fan favorites in the paddock and on the track. Among the entries — Jim Putnam’s 1916 National AC; Paddins Dowling’s 1934 ERA R2A; Greg Whitten’s 1935 ERA R2B; Tom Malloy’s 1934 Miller Burd; Brian Blain’s 1916 Sturtivant-Auburn racer and Peter Giddings’ 1935 Alfa Romeo 8C Monza.

2016 marked the 2nd year the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation partnered with Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA) to manage the event.

Similar to 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, Sports Car Digest also documented the 2016 Coronado Speed Festival, with Victor Varela producing the following images from the 19th annual running of the ‘Race at the Base’. We split up Victor’s pictures into two galleries. The first gallery starting below features our favorite images, while the second gallery can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs. To see more from Victor, visit VictorVarela.com.

Coronado Speed Festival 2016 – Featured Photo Gallery

1967 Ferrari 312 F1 replica - Joe Scarbo
1967 Ferrari 312 F1 replica – Joe Scarbo
1977 Chevron B39 - Martin Lauber
1977 Chevron B39 – Martin Lauber
1979 Ralt RT2 - Chris Farrell
1979 Ralt RT2 – Chris Farrell
1934 Miller Burd Indy Car - Tom Malloy
1934 Miller Burd Indy Car – Tom Malloy


1972 Datsun 610 - Adam Carolla
1972 Datsun 610 – Adam Carolla
1969 Alfa Romeo GTV - Shelly Zide
1969 Alfa Romeo GTV – Shelly Zide
1969 BMW 2002 B/S - Tom Brecht
1969 BMW 2002 B/S – Tom Brecht
1929 Pontiac 6-29A - Ronald Stauber
1929 Pontiac 6-29A – Ronald Stauber

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Show Comments (21)

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  1. Nice group of images from a track that’s not easy to shoot. The 135 Transport in #94 ThunderBird image is tops. Also like the use of Long Beach a cross the bay. All in all a nice collection of images. Oh the cars look good too.

  2. Great shots of cars and drivers really driving hard – good work. Love that shot of the 1916 Sturtivant-Auburn Racer – Brian Blain – brilliant mood shot. Viewing from Island of Mallorca in The Mediterranean. I will look out for more.

      1. It’s difficult to capture and submit every car that participates over the course of a race weekend. I make every effort to photograph and include a wide variety of cars so that both participants and fans get to see as many of the cars that were on track and in the paddock.

        With that said, I’m glad I captured the #544 Volvo and you were able to enjoy it here at Sports Car Digest!

  3. Victor did a great job of covering the races. I really like the close up, in-your-face shots of rarely seen cars, and the details of parts. But I just don’t get it! The first thing professional automotive photographers learn is to keep the horizon straight, unless tilting is done for effect and should rarely be done. I notice Julien also has that lack of discipline. Is it a generational thing, or perhaps a lack of understanding of how fans see images? Making hill climbs out of airport runway racing is amateurish.

    1. Yeah… you again. Anonymous – aka Veteran Aviation, Motorsports Photographer…

      I (and I’m sure Julien will concur) thank you for your professional and thoroughly eloquent description of the what a professional photographer should know. This latest collection of myopic statements makes it obvious that your sir, are no professional.

      So, I say to you, leave your comfort zone, go out now, take your camera and try to have fun taking pictures.

  4. Just for the record and not to get into a pissing match, I am a 30-yr veteran professional photographer with a Pulitzer prize for my photojournalism work, having had many covers and photo layouts in leading aviation and motorsports magazines. All the picture editors I knew rejected photographs with artificial tilts, unless they were overpoweringly interesting. I still practice photography more for the fun of it than for the cash – although the cash ain’t bad.

    1. Good for you. Despite your stated experience, credentials and awards, you come off as being obnoxious, insulting and rude. And maybe you are not these things, but your written contributions here says otherwise. Work on that.

      Lastly, congrats on the Pulitzer prize.

  5. Victor, a great picture of my 1929 Pontiac 6-29A. My 13 year son, who could not attend the event and has never has seen her on the tract, now believes that I am a race car driver and we have a real race car. Thank you. Ron