Someone Leveraged Coronavirus to Break the Already-Illegal Cannonball Run Record

The team allegedly drove across the U.S. in less than 27 hours

Anonymous team sets new Cannonball Run record during pandemic
Is it better or worse to drive the Cannonball Run during the pandemic?
Screenshot via VINwiki on YouTube

Back in 2019, three maniacs set a new record for the Cannonball Run, a cross-country race from New York City to Los Angeles most people will know from the 1981 Burt Reynolds and Roger Moore flick. They completed it in 27 hours and 25 minutes, which for them meant a top speed of 193 MPH and an average speed of, no joke, 103 MPH. 

Obviously, this unofficial race is not only illegal but highly dangerous, even during normal times. But as Road & Track reported this week, an unidentified team took advantage of the empty roads during the current pandemic and allegedly set a new Cannonball record of 26 hours and 38 minutes.

“All we know about this new set of scofflaws is that there were three, maybe four of them, and that they were driving a white 2019 Audi A8 sedan with a pair of red plastic marine fuel tanks ratchet-strapped into its trunk,” wrote the magazine. They added that, as is customary, the attempt started at the Red Ball garage in Manhattan and ended at the Portofino Hotel in Redondo Beach.

The supposed feat has set off arguments not just across the racing community, but throughout the driving public at large. Some argue that this is the worst time possible time to attempt the Cannonball, as any potential accidents would add to our country’s already overburdened medical facilities, not to mention the travel restrictions currently in place in much of the U.S. Others argue that, while it is always illegal, now is the most opportune moment to try because roads are emptier and there is a much lower chance of getting in accidents in the first place.

The problem with both of these arguments is that they’re hypothetical when in fact, data is already beginning to show that, despite a decrease in people on the roads, fatalities are actually going up in some places. According to MPR News, since the state’s stay-at-home orders began, “traffic fatalities in Minnesota have increased about 50 percent and that’s at a time that traffic is down roughly 50 percent.”

“The two things that we’re seeing out there are aggressive, careless driving and speeds and in many cases, really excessive speeds,” Mike Hanson, director of the Office of Traffic Safety, told MPR News.

Aggressive driving and excessive speeds are the hallmark of the Cannonball Run. 

It remains to be seen if this attempt will be officially recognized by the racing community or written off. It might depend on who, exactly, drove the race. While the names haven’t been released quite yet, former record-holder Ed Bolian goes through the details of the run as well as some of the controversy on VINwiki’s YouTube channel:

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