Cannonball Run Record Broken Seven Times in Five Weeks

The Cannonball Run record has been broken again this year. The outlaw, non-stop, coast-to-coast race, is always run under secrecy to avoid potential disruption by law enforcement. But a reliable source familiar with past Cannonball Run efforts, and acquainted with some of the teams, has confirmed that the record set last month of 26 hours 38 minutes has been broken multiple times since then. 

Cannonball Run - car race from NYC to CA
The Midwestern Propst brothers, Kevin, 47, left, and Eric, 51, finished the Cannonball Run race in 41 hours 18 minutes with their conversion van September 19, 2016 in Redondo Beach, CA. | Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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The Cannonball Run is a real race

On November 17, 1971, Brock Yates and Dan Gurney joined eight teams in an attempt to cross the country as fast as possible. Yates and Gurney chose a white Ferrari Daytona coupe for their trip from the Red Ball Garage in Manhattan, New York, to the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, California. They completed the task in 35 hours, 54 minutes. From that point forward, that record time has been broken again and again.

The Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, as its formally recognized, had a new record set last month, during the global COVID-19 lockdown. Since then, according to Ed Bolian, the founder of Vinwiki, has been in communication with multiple teams and has been able to confirm that the record has been broken six more times. So, that is a total of seven records in five weeks.

Citations, accidents, and injuries

The teams for the 1971 race amassed twelve traffic citations. No indication yet how many citations have been issued for the teams during the last few weeks of Cannonball Run efforts. There were, however, no accidents or injuries recorded with the recent attempts. In fact, there have not been any in the nearly fifty years the race has happened.

Since each Cannonball attempt is illegal, everything is kept low key until the winners finally feel confident that any legal statute of limitations is surpassed. After that, official announcements will be forthcoming. Apparently, a documentary about the record-setting team run will be released as well from another organization.

Cannonball Run - car race from NYC to CA in 40 hours or less
At the first of nine gas stops on the 2016 Cannonball Run race from New York to California, Kevin Propst looks over the receipts gathered so far on September 17, 2016 in Carlise, PA | Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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An official announcement to come

Mr. Bolian, a former Cannonball record holder himself, will be posting an interview with the winning team on his YouTube Vinwiki channel when he can get it coordinated. He hopes to discuss with the new record holders the details of the vehicle chosen, how it was prepared, the numbers of spotters used, and any hiccups experienced along the route. 

In the meantime, Mr. Bollian did say that some teams were averaging over 120 miles per hour in some states. Also, some teams had spotters running ahead of the car. Otherwise, little else was provided in the teaser video. But, if teams from previous years are any indication, there were probably radar detectors, laptops, scanners, GPS recording systems, and different mobile apps involved in the set up of the cars for the Cannonball Run.

Team for the Cannonball Run
REDONDO BEACH, CA – SEPTEMBER 19: Roscoe Anderson, John Ficarra and Carl “Yumi” Dietz pose for photos September 19, 2016 in Redondo Beach, CA. They finished in second with a time of 37 hours and five minutes. | Photo by Katherine Frey/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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Under 26 hours

As it is right now, Mr. Bolian says multiple teams have recorded times under 26 hours, and he questions how long that new record will last. Regions of the country are coming off of the pandemic lockdown. So, traffic volumes will slowly return back to normal. This will make future Cannonball attempts more complicated with today’s technology. But, years down the road, things may change as technology progresses, just as they have through the decades.