Coronado Speed Festival kicks off Saturday

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CORONADO, Calif. -- A weekend of auto racing, cars shows and ship tours is on tap at Naval Air Station North Island Saturday and Sunday.

The Coronado Speed Festival is one of numerous events associated with Fleet Week San Diego.

More than 250 historic vehicles will race on a 1.7-mile course set up on the runways.

Ships available for public tours will include the guided-missile destroyer Wayne E. Meyer, guided-missile cruiser USS Cape St. George, mine countermeasures ship USS Champion, and amphibious transport dock USS Somerset, named for the county where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed on 9/11.

“We are very excited for this year's `Race at the Base,'' Capt. Stephen Barnett said. “We enjoy this opportunity to open up the base to our neighbors and display the birthplace of naval aviation.''

Also on tap are a pit crew challenge in which more than 20 teams of sailors and Marines will take part in a timed contest, test drives of high- performance vehicles, displays of cars from the movie “Fast & Furious 7,'' and viewing of military equipment.

The event will also observe the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, with local veterans of the global conflict slated to appear. Actor Joe Mantegna, “Criminal Minds,'' is the grand marshal.

Tickets purchased at the site cost $35 for one day or $45 for both days. Military on active duty and their direct dependents, and children 12 and under, receive free admission.

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