Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash

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The Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash, widely known simply as the Cannonball Baker or Cannonball Run, was an unofficial, unsanctioned automobile race run five times in the 1970s from New York City and Darien, Connecticut, on the U.S. Atlantic coast, to the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, a Los Angeles suburb on the Pacific coast. Conceived by car magazine writer and auto racer Brock Yates and fellow Car and Driver editor Steve Smith, the first run was not a real competitive race, as there was only one team running, but intended both as a celebration of the United States Interstate Highway System and a protest against strict traffic laws coming into effect at the time.

As it was found out, the newly imposed 55 mph (89 km/h) speed limit imposed by the National Maximum Speed Law (imposed as an energy conservation measure) was actually slower than the quickest average speeds of point-to-point travels of Erwin George "Cannon Ball" Baker in the first half of the 20th century. In 1933, Baker drove coast to coast in a Graham-Paige model 57 Blue Streak 8, averaging greater than 50 mph (80 km/h), setting a 53 hour 30 minute record that stood for nearly 40 years.

Another motivation was the fun involved, which showed in the tongue-in-cheek reports in Car and Driver and other auto publications worldwide.

The initial cross-country run was accomplished by Yates; his son, Brock Yates, Jr.; Steve Smith; and friend Jim Williams beginning on May 3, 1971. The first running was accomplished in a 1971 Dodge Custom Sportsman van, called the "Moon Trash II". The race was run four more times, on November 15, 1971; November 13, 1972; April 23, 1975; and April 1, 1979. Jack May and Rick Cline drove a Ferrari Dino (05984) from the Red Ball Garage in New York City in a world's record time of 35 hours and 53 minutes, on April 23–25, 1975, averaging 83 mph (134 km/h). The most remarkable effort certainly was by American racing legend Dan Gurney (winner of the 1967 24 hours of Le Mans), who won the second run in a Ferrari Daytona. Dan himself put it best, saying: "At no time did we exceed 175 mph." With Brock Yates as co-driver, it took them 35 hours and 54 minutes to travel 2,863 miles (4,608 km) at an average of approximately 80 mph (130 km/h), while collecting one fine. Snow in the Rockies slowed them down considerably. The record for official Cannonballs is 32 hours and 51 minutes (about 87 mph), set in the final run by Dave Heinz and Dave Yarborough in a Jaguar XJS in April 1979. This New York to Los Angeles record was allegedly broken in 2007 by Richard Rawlings and Dennis Collins with a time of 31 hours and 59 minutes and an average speed of 87.6 mph (141.0 km/h).[1]

After the original Cannonball races were halted, Car and Driver began to sponsor a legitimate closed-course tour, the One Lap of America. Outlaw successors in the United States, Europe, and Australia continue to use the Cannonball name without Yates' approval.[citation needed]

The Race[edit]

The object of the Cannonball Baker was to leave the Red Ball Garage on East 31st Street in New York City, later a venue in Darien, Connecticut, the now-defunct Lock, Stock, and Barrel restaurant, located in the Goodwives Shopping Center, usually after midnight, and drive to the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, California in the shortest time possible. Those were the only rules. Nothing was specified as to the route, type of vehicle, or maximum speed permitted. There was a gentlemen's agreement that the vehicle entered would be driven the entire distance, not having it transported on another vehicle, nor having an identical second vehicle hidden near the finish, etc. Speeding citations received along the way were the driver's responsibility and did not disqualify the vehicle, although having to stop to receive a ticket increased the vehicle's overall time.

The Cannonball Run was technically a race in that the fastest time was declared the "winner" and the results were announced in order of time, but times were not taken very seriously. And it was found that sheer speed frequently did not guarantee a first place finish.


The Cannonball runs gained notoriety after the 1972 run, but it was Time Magazine's May 5, 1975, story on the Jack May and Rick Cline race that solidified it in the public consciousness. To the surprise of many, the hilarious reports in Car and Driver were warmly received by the press and the public alike, rather than being condemned for being reckless.

Reportedly, the worst "accident" that occurred in all of the Cannonball runs was spilled lasagna aboard a motor home which made the trip in 57 hours, as Car and Driver Magazine detailed the November 1971 running in their March 1972 issue. That article was reprinted in its entirety in 2005, being chosen to represent the decade of the 1970s in the magazine's 50th anniversary series of article reprints.

However, in his memoir book about the races (see References), Yates reports that in the 1972 event, an all-female team consisting of Peggy Niemcek, Judy Stropus, and SCCA racer Donna Mae Mims ("The Pink Lady") suffered a crash near El Paso, Texas, resulting in a DNF (Did Not Finish.) The book contains a first-hand account by Mims, stating that their Cadillac stretch limousine veered off the road and rolled over after the driver fell asleep at the wheel. Although the car was destroyed and Mims suffered a broken arm, no other vehicles were involved in the crash, and this was the only serious accident in all the Cannonball races.

Yates began working on a screenplay, to be titled Coast to Coast, but was scooped by two unofficial films in 1976, Cannonball and The Gumball Rally. Eventually, an "official" Cannonball Run movie was made — The Cannonball Run — starring Burt Reynolds and Dom DeLuise with Yates in a cameo appearance. Two sequels, Cannonball Run II and Speed Zone, followed. A later USA Network television program, Cannonball Run 2001, was given official approval to use the name.

U.S. Express[edit]

After the last Cannonball, Rick Doherty, a veteran of the 1975 and 1979 races, organized a successor, the U.S. Express. Doherty won the first U.S. Express with co-driver and famous game designer, Will Wright,[2] at the wheel of a Mazda RX-7. Their time was 33 hours, 9 minutes. The U.S. Express ran to the beach in Santa Monica, making it longer than the Cannonball. Despite the increased length, the fastest time recorded was 32 hours 7 minutes in the 1983 race, 44 minutes faster than the fastest Cannonball, and the "official" cross-country record until it was broken in 2006. 1983 was the last year of the U.S. Express.

In 1981 the U.S. Express ran from Long Island, New York to Emeryville, California (bordering Oakland, California at the east end of the Bay Bridge). Interstate 80 was largely the route of choice. The winning team in 1981 were the first time Express team of David Morse and Steve Clausman driving Morse's gray Porsche 928. One unique road hazard experienced in the 1981 run was an early snowfall closing the Donner Pass for several hours to vehicles without chains, just as the U.S. Express cars were approaching. Their Porsche 928 carried special plastic chains and was able to proceed, while others had to wait for the pass to open. The team of David Morse and Steve Clausman competed the next two years. In 1982 (also to Emeryville) they endured several memorable police stops, and in the final U.S. Express run in 1983 to Newport Beach, they placed second in what some consider a controversial finish.


More than thirty years after the last official Cannonball, the issues raised, and the possibility of a full or partial revival, are still of interest to some motorists. Yates, in his book, recalled declining offers ever since the last race to revive the concept, and gave a number of reasons: It was unworkable, including increased police activity; increased legal liabilities on the part of any organizer; and increased year-round traffic and expanding urban areas, as well as warning of the obvious dangers of a race on public roads.[3] The Gumball 3000 gained publicity in the early 2000s as a similar event, sometimes held on coast-to-coast American routes, but paced over several times as long and with no time-based winner.

While not a coast-to-coast event, The Bandit Run is a similar road marathon held yearly since 2007, when it marked the 30th anniversary of the film Smokey and the Bandit (produced by Hal Needham and starring Burt Reynolds, who would both make the first Cannonball Run movie four years later).

Alexander Roy and David Maher claim to have set a new record of 31 hours and 4 minutes in October 2006.[4]

The 2008 documentary 32 Hours 7 Minutes documents the 1983 and 2006 record-setting runs.

Ed Bolian, co-driver Dave Black, and Dan Huang claimed to have driven the 2,813.7 mile route from the Red Ball Garage to the Portofino Hotel in 28 hours and 50 minutes October 19–20, 2013, averaging 98 miles per hour, including the 15 minutes it took to get out of Manhattan in a 2004 Mercedes-Benz CL55 AMG. The drivers stopped three times for fuel. The car was equipped with two specially installed 22-gallon auxiliary fuel tanks in addition to its standard 23-gallon tank, a total of 67 US gallons (250 L). Bolian offered GPS logs as proof of his accomplishment.[5]


+ indicates winners
* indicates overall record

Last nameFirst nameRunTimePlaceVehicleYear
AdamowiczTony236:472Chevrolet Van1971.5
AdelbergHarvey536:199Mercedes-Benz 300 SD1979
AldenAl532:592Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.91979
AmmermanCraig445:3617Travco Motorhome1975
ArentzGary539:1019Jaguar XJS1979
ArmstrongKeith539:2020Chevrolet El Camino1979
ArmstrongTed539:2020Chevrolet El Camino1979
ArutunoffAnatoly449:3218Bristol 4101975
ArutunoffAnatoly540:3324Volvo 242 GT1979
AtwellJim438:567Porsche Carrera1975
AtwellJim542:2829Porsche Carrera1979
BakerClyde "C.J."341:1513AMC Hornet1972
BakerTerry535:587Ferrari 308 GTS1979
BehrSteve239:036Dodge Van1971.5
BehrSteve +337:161Cadillac Coupe De Ville1972
BehrSteve438:033Dodge Challenger1975
BehrSteve542:2728Porsche 9281979
BellRoger558:0439Rolls Royce Silver Wraith1979
BerniusTerry544:1332Lotus Esprit1979
BlueDoug349:0425Chevrolet Monte Carlo1972
BrennanPeter5999DNF45Pontiac Firebird Trans Am1979
BrockPete337:333Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL1972
BrodrickBill257:257Travco Motorhome1971.5
BrodrickBill344:4219Travco Motorhome1972
BrodrickBill445:3617Travco Motorhome1975
BrownBob337:262Dodge Challenger1972
BrownellDave561:5140Ford Panel Truck1979
BrowningBob540:3324Volvo 242 GT1979
BruertonEd237:485AMC AMX1971.5
BruertonEd339:428AMC AMX1972
BruertonTom237:485AMC AMX1971.5
BruertonTom339:428AMC AMX1972
BuffumJohn440:199Porsche Carrera1975
BuffumVicki440:199Porsche Carrera1975
CadyJack343:0216Ford Van1972
CampbellBill541:0026Ford Thunderbird1979
CanfieldBill +337:161Cadillac Coupe De Ville1972
CareyBob257:257Travco Motorhome1971.5
CarlsonTim440:3711Ford Van1975
CatalanoChristine535:176Mazda RX-71979
ChapinKim239:036Dodge Van1971.5
ClineRick +435:531Ferrari Dino 246 GTS1975
CooperBill538:5218Ferrari 308 GT 3501979
CorrizzoniTom349:0425Chevrolet Monte Carlo1972
CowellJack337:333Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL1972
CrabbePaul345:3921Opel Rallye1972
CripeTom544:1332Lotus Esprit1979
CrittendenJim536:008Buick Park Avenue1979
DainkoRainec340:5510Chevrolet Van1972
DavidsonStuart546:4836Ferrari 330 GT1979
DawnWes2999DNF8MGB GT1971.5
DawnWes339:357Chevrolet Vega1972
DawnWes438:164Mercedes-Benz 450 SL1975
DawnWes536:4912Cadillac Eldorado1979
De VanFred339:296Mazda RX-21972
DeftyPeter545:3233Chevrolet Suburban1979
DennerTom341:0612Chevrolet Vega1972
DennisonScott340:5510Chevrolet Van1972
DohertyRichard535:176Mazda RX-71979
DornsifeRod542:2728Porsche 9281979
DunajJon536:199Mercedes-Benz 300 SD1979
DurstSteve3999DNF27Chevrolet Vega1972
EgloffGeorge543:3230Suzuki 850 Motorcycle1979
EhrichTerry561:5140Ford Panel Truck1979
EpsteinWendy543:3230Suzuki 850 Motorcycle1979
EricksonMorris346:1722Opel Rallye1972
FasslerPaul537:2514Porsche 9301979
FaustDavid536:5113Chevrolet Malibu1979
FergussonAlice342:0815Citroën DS 191972
FergussonJoe342:0815Citroën DS 191972
FernaldSteve440:3110Volvo 164 E1975
FieldDick532:592Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.91979
FischerPaul341:0111Ford Torino1972
FischerPaul440:5313Ford Torino1975
FogSteven534:074Pontiac Firebird Trans Am1979
FranklAndrew565:5541Ford Mini Truck1979
FranssonJoe344:4219Travco Motorhome1972
FuchsJohn341:1513AMC Hornet1972
GaffordTom545:3233Chevrolet Suburban1979
GallagherJack3999DNF34Honda 6001972
GarbariniSteve348:2524Datsun 240 Z1972
GarcioneWilliam348:2524Datsun 240 Z1972
GilmartinRichard337:333Mercedes-Benz 280 SEL1972
GoodmanKirby536:5113Chevrolet Malibu1979
GouldRichard441:3515Oldsmobile Cutlass1975
GrahamPaul539:4522Chevrolet Camaro1979
GregoryFred5999DNF45Pontiac Firebird Trans Am1979
GurneyDan +235:541Ferrari Daytona1971.5
HammilSteve3999DNF29Porsche 9111972
HarmstonEdwin558:0439Rolls Royce Silver Wraith1979
HarrisonJohn5999DNF44Lotus Esprit1979
HeinzDave +532:51* 1Jaguar XJS1979
HenryBill341:0612Chevrolet Vega1972
HeriskoRon236:563Cadillac Coupe De Ville1971.5
HickeyTom532:592Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL 6.91979
HitchinsJohn565:5541Ford Mini Truck1979
HoneggerPierre439:228Mazda RX-41975
Hopkins `Danny338:024De Tomaso Pantera1972
HopkinsHoppy338:024De Tomaso Pantera1972
HoschekGero543:4731Jensen Interceptor1979
HougeLarry346:1722Opel Rallye1972
HourihanBob440:3110Volvo 164 E1975
HowlettJack438:456Buick Electra1975
HuntJim541:0026Ford Thunderbird1979
JamesDirk543:3230Suzuki 850 Motorcycle1979
JeanesWilliam445:3617Travco Motorhome1975
JellisonRich357:1926Chevrolet Corvette1972
JenkinsRichard338:375Alfa Romeo Giulia1972
JessenJohn357:1926Chevrolet Corvette1972
JohnsonDon3999DNF31Austin Healey1972
JohnsonGary437:502Chevrolet Pickup1975
JonesDavid538:1017Chevrolet Blazer1979
Kendall-LaneFiona558:0439Rolls Royce Silver Wraith1979
Kendall-LaneStephen558:0439Rolls Royce Silver Wraith1979
KennyArnold3999DNF32Chevrolet Camaro Z 281972
KeplerFred3999DNF32Chevrolet Camaro Z 281972
KeyRobert548:5337Shelby Mustang GT 3501979
KirbyJim536:4011Chevrolet Camaro Z 281979
KopecRich548:5337Shelby Mustang GT 3501979
KovaleskiOscar236:472Chevrolet Van1971.5
KovaleskiBob436:4011Chevrolet Camaro Z 281979
KozlowskiTom439:228Mazda RX-41975
LaneJohn537:3115Porsche 9281979
LeonardTom537:4616Chevrolet Camaro Z 281979
LincolnSam349:0425Chevrolet Monte Carlo1972
LloydDavid536:008Buick Park Avenue1979
LoveliBill541:0026Ford Thunderbird1979
LynchLeo3999DNF30Porsche 9111972
LynchLeo438:395Porsche 9111975
MahlerJohn537:4616Chevrolet Camaro Z 281979
MarbutTom237:454Dodge Van1971.5
MargetPete341:4114Datsun 5101972
MarshallPierce536:5113Chevrolet Malibu1979
MartinCharles545:3233Chevrolet Suburban1979
MartinChauncey343:0216Ford Van1972
MartiniJeff439:228Mazda RX-41975
MartiniJeff536:4912Cadillac Eldorado1979
MayJack +435:531Ferrari Dino 246 GTS1975
MayoEdward538:1017Chevrolet Blazer1979
McCarthyCharlie536:199Mercedes-Benz 300 SD1979
McConkeyRon440:4312Pontiac Firebird Trans Am1975
McCoyJack437:502Chevrolet Pickup1975
McCoyPeggy437:502Chevrolet Pickup1975
McGovernJohn441:3515Oldsmobile Cutlass1975
McGovernJohn558:0439Rolls Royce Silver Wraith1979
McGrailTom344:4219Travco Motorhome1972
McGrailTom445:3617Travco Motorhome1975
McPhersonGlen3999DNF31Austin Healey1972
McWhorterDonald541:1727Chevrolet Corvette1979
McWhorterGerald541:1727Chevrolet Corvette1979
MenesiniDennis534:525Chevrolet Pickup1979
MenkeVern440:5313Ford Torino1975
MenzelMike5999DNF (Indio, CA)46Fiat 127 (1500 cc PBS Engine)1979
MillerJames343:4518Bradley GT1972
MillerMark534:525Chevrolet Pickup1979
MillerRobin339:357Chevrolet Vega1972
MimsDonna Mae39990:0028Cadillac Limousine1972
MoodyDave341:0111Ford Torino1972
MorinHolly239:036Dodge Van1971.5
MortonTom341:0111Ford Torino1972
MortonTom440:3313Ford Torino1975
MosesSam539:2921Ford Mustang Boss 3021979
MullenJim540:1123Ferrari SWB1979
MullenJoan540:1123Ferrari SWB1979
NeedhamHal59DNF43Dodge Van1979
NehlTom441:3214Porsche 9111975
NergerUrsula543:4731Jensen Interceptor1979
NicholsJohn539:4522Chevrolet Camaro1979
NickelGil438:164Mercedes-Benz 450 SL1975
NiemcekBrad236:472Chevrolet Van1971.5
NiemcekBrad39DNF27Chevrolet Van1972
NiemcekBrad440:3711Ford Van1975
NiemcekPeggi39DNF28Cadillac Limousine1972
NunnSpike341:4114Datsun 5101972
O'BrienRobert441:3515Oldsmobile Cutlass1975
O'DonnellBill553:0038Cadillac Eldorado1979
OldsFred +337:161Cadillac Coupe De Ville1972
OldsFred440:3110Volvo 164 E1975
OpertLarry236:563Cadillac Sedan De Ville1971.5
PoggioMassimo59DNF (Indio, CA)46Fiat 127 (1300 cc PBS Engine)1979
ParkerPal257:257Travco Motorhome1971.5
ParkerPal344:4219Travco Motorhome1972
ParkerPal445:3617Travco Motorhome1975
PashPhil257:257Travco Motorhome1971.5
PatchettKeith572:5442BMW R 90/6 Motorcycle1979
PearsonJack438:456Buick Electra1975
PeelerJim546:4836Ferrari 330 GT1979
PerlowBob29DNF8MGB GT1971.5
PfeiferS.347:2823Ford Pinto1972
PierceJeff533:423Pontiac Firebird Trans Am1979
PostonBecky237:454Dodge Van1971.5
PrentissLarry546:3735Porsche Carrera1979
PritchMark536:5218Ferrari 308 GT 3501979
PritzkerNate236:563Cadillac Sedan De Ville1971.5
PryorBill449:3218Bristol 4101975
PryorBill540:3324Volvo 242 GT1979
QuartararoTony546:4836Ferrari 330 GT1979
RaceDonald553:0038Cadillac Eldorado1979
RalstonBenjamin546:3735Porsche Carrera1979
RamseyJohn343:2817Ford Torino1972
RasmussenBuzz539:2020Chevrolet El Camino1979
ReganKen440:3711Ford Van1975
RichardsonTad535:176Mazda RX-71979
RiggsClyde536:4912Cadillac Eldorado1979
RobisonCharlie534:525Chevrolet Pickup1979
RoderDick340:5510Chevrolet Van1972
RomineChris535:587Ferrari 308 GTS1979
RosenblattJoel536:008Buick Park Avenue1979
RostBob338:375Alfa Romeo Giulia1972
RowzieDan438:395Porsche 911 RSR1975
RoyerLyle59DNF43Dodge Van1979
SatulloSandy438:456Buick Electra1975
Satullo IISandy438:456Buick Electra1975
Satullo IISandy536:4912Pontiac1979
ScarlatoJerry445:3617Travco Motorhome1975
SchmittCharles553:0038Cadillac Eldorado1979
ScottDick39DNF30Porsche 9111972
ScribnerDoug349:0425Chevrolet Monte Carlo1972
SellyeiLouis539:1019Jaguar XJS1979
SencenbaughJim545:3233Chevrolet Suburban1979
SenekiAlex546:3134Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.31979
ShugarsDave440:4312Pontiac Firebird Trans Am1975
SibioAlbert Jr.536:4011Chevrolet Camaro Z 281979
SmithGary539:4522Chevrolet Camaro1979
SmithKen534:525Chevrolet Pickup1979
SmithSteve +140:511Dodge Sportsman Van1971
SnyderMichael533:423Pontiac Firebird Trans Am1979
SolskiPaul339:296Mazda RX-21972
SporticheAlain546:3134Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.31979
SpreadburyBill347:2823Ford Pinto1972
StannerBud337:262Dodge Challenger1972
StantonChick438:567Porsche Carrera1975
StantonChick542:2829Porsche Carrera1979
Stephenson?39DNF34Honda 6001972
StropusJudy39DNF28Cadillac Limousine1972
TaayjesBob343:4518Bradley GT1972
TaylorJustus561:5140Ford Panel Truck1979
ThibeauJohn345:3921Opel Rallye1972
TrefethenJon343:2817Ford Torino1972
TruesdaleLoyal572:5442BMW R 90/6 Motorcycle1979
TurkovichBob440:3711Ford Van1975
UnkeferDuane343:0216Ford Van1972
VilleneuveJacques537:3115Porsche 9281979
VisniewskiScott538:1017Chevrolet Blazer1979
WalleRay439:228Mazda RX-41975
WardKen543:3230Suzuki 850 Motorcycle1979
WardSteve543:3230Suzuki 850 Motorcycle1979
WarnerBill441:3214Porsche 9111975
WatersRandy237:454Dodge Van1971.5
WeglarzDennis440:4312Pontiac Firebird Trans Am1975
WhitesideMark534:074Pontiac Firebird Trans Am1979
WilliamsJim +140:511Dodge Sportsman Van1971
WilliamsWillie538:1017Chevrolet Blazer1979
WilligGeorge539:2921Ford Mustang Boss 3021979
YarboroughDave +532:51* 1Jaguar XJS1979
YatesBrock +140:511Dodge Sportsman Van1971
YatesBrock +235:541Ferrari Daytona1971.5
YatesBrock337:262Dodge Challenger1972
YatesBrock438:033Dodge Challenger1975
YatesBrock59DNF43Dodge Van1979
YatesBrock, Jr. +140:511Dodge Sportsman Van1971
YatesPamela59DNF43Dodge Van1979
ZiegelRobert537:2514Porsche 9301979
ZoeltnerAndreas543:4731Jensen Interceptor1979


  1. ^ Richard Rawlings bio, Discovery Channel, Fast N' Loud
  2. ^ "Sims Designer Had the Wright Stuff for Street Racing Way Back When",
  3. ^ Yates, Brock (August 2003). Cannonball! World's Greatest Outlaw Road Race. Motorbooks International. p. 288. ISBN 0-7603-1090-4. 
  4. ^ David Shaftel (October 17, 2007). "Tale of Outlaw Racing, With the U.S. as a Course". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-21. 
  5. ^

External links[edit]