The pandemic makes room on the roads for a record-breaking Cannonball run

The famous cross-country race is back in the news -- but some people say it’s for all the wrong reasons.


April 14, 2020

The goal of the stunt is simple: Fire up your engine at the Red Ball Garage in midtown Manhattan and burn rubber to the other side of the country as fast as your outlaw ride will take you.

It’s called the Cannonball. It’s VERY illegal and pretty famous — thanks to Burt Reynolds and other movie stars who enshrined it in American pop culture back in the ’70s and ’80s.

And because of the pandemic, it just made a record-breaking comeback.

This Cannonball made a BIG splash

A crew of Cannonballers recently made it all the way to the finish line — an oceanside hotel in Redondo Beach, California — in just 26 hours and 38 minutes, averaging 100+ mph over 3k miles.

Their ride — a 2019 Audi sedan with huge red fuel tanks strapped into its trunk — broke the 27:25 mark set last year.

But people want them to pump the brakes

The nation’s empty highways might tempt any daredevil to stomp on the gas. Traffic levels are down 90+% in some major cities.

But when word of the new record leaked out on Facebook, many people said the timing was pure idiocy, not pure genius. What happens if a driver crashes and ends up taking valuable space in a hospital?

Even some Cannonball aficionados appear to have gotten the message.

  • Road & Track reported that a few drivers had planned to run a version of the Cannonball race during the first week of April, but scrapped it with state governments issuing stay-at-home orders.

Some people want the new record to get an asterisk. Seems unlikely, since… the whole thing is illegal anyway.

PSA to aspiring Speed Racers out there

You might want to keep your wheels in park. Most joyrides DO NOT seem to be ending well these days:

  • The owner of an ultra-rare Porsche was arrested after smashing his ride into cars in Manhattan.

In California, the number of tickets handed to drivers going 100+ mph on freeways jumped by 42% in March compared with last year. The increase came even as the overall number of speeding citations fell by ~18%.

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