Cannonball Run History
Nov. 17, 1971, Dan Gurney and Brock Yates co-drove a Kirk F. White Ferrari Daytona coupe to a new unofficial record for cross country travel. The distance between New York City Red Ball Garage to Portofino Inn at Redondo Beach, Calif was 35 hours and 54 minutes. Gurney and Yates won the first “Cannonball Run” , offically called the Cannonball Baker Sea To Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash.
They were only 53 minutes faster than the second place finisher. Chevrolet Sports Van entered by Briggs Chevrolet Ferrari from South Ambory, New Jersey. These were the three co-founders of the Polish Racing Drivers of American. Tony Adamowicz, Oscar Koveleski and Brad Niemcek. The team covered the distance in 36 hours and 47 minutes.Fire TV Edition – Smart TVs starting at $99.99
Now, fast forward to 2019. Arne Toman and Doug Tabutt, along with spotter Berkely Chadwick, left New York City’s Red Ball Garage just after midnight on Nov. 10 in a modified 2015 Mercedes-Benz sedan and drove to the Portofino Inn in Redondo Beach, Calif. This is the same start and finish points used during the first “Cannonball Baker Sea To Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash” in 1971. This time though, the unofficial record was broken (the record does not officially exist). The time was 27 hours and 25 minutes with speeds that topped out 193 mph at one point, and a average speed of 103 mph. The modified Mercedes-Benz was modified inside and out. Part of the back seat was cut out to make room for a cooler and supplies. An added fuel cell helped load the car with more than 60 total gallons of gasoline. The 2015 Mercedes was also tuned up to 700 hp. Toman also added different electronic law enforcement countermeasures, radar detectors, laser jammers, and police scanner. Also included a thermal imaging camera mounted to the roof that was used to look for police cars parked on the side of the road. Waze, an “underground” speed trap app provided Crowdsourced Intelligence, allowed points along the way to check for speed traps, traffic and other obstacles.
The trip took them from I-80 in New Jersey all the way through to Denver. Then to I-70 further west before taking I-15 from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. They stopped for fuel only four times. Their bathroom breaks were squeezed in those stops. The team was all business with no radio or podcasts to distract. The team was able to catch some glimpses during the journey. Tabbett was quoted saying, “hitting the Mississippi River at sunrise was a high point, Denver’s steep climb was beautiful, but, the altitude and low quality fuel they had at one stop briefly made the car stutter and quit in Colorado”.
This was an amazing adventure by these three men. Going 2,825 miles in 27 hours and 25 mins is really a great accomplishment. I have done several different trips from Pittsburgh region to Phoenix, AZ. I could not imagine driving that distance with only four stops. This is something these three guys will remember, and have memories of the rest of there lives.
Congratulations to Arne Toman, Doug Tabutt, and Berkely Chadwick. Truly amazing gentlemen.