New Cannonball Run Record

The 1981 film Cannonball Run portrayed a group of "highway scofflaws and degenerates" who race across the United States while ignoring the 55-mph speed limit. The movie inspired others to see how fast one can really drive from New York to Los Angeles, and that goal is still known as the Cannonball Run. The record set in 2007 was 31 hours and 4 minutes, but that was broken on October 19-20 by Ed Bolian (center) and his team, Dave Black and Dan Huang. Bolian has been working on this run for several years, starting with research (the others were recruited at the last minute).

He went into preparation mode about 18 months ago and chose a Mercedes CL55 AMG with 115,000 miles for the journey. The Benz's gas tank was only 23 gallons, so he added two 22-gallon tanks in the trunk, upping his range to about 800 miles. The spare tire had to go in the backseat with his spotter, Dan Huang, a student at Georgia Tech, Bolian's alma mater.

To foil the police, he installed a switch to kill the rear lights and bought two laser jammers and three radar detectors. He commissioned a radar jammer, but it wasn't finished in time for the trek. There was also a police scanner, two GPS units and various chargers for smartphones and tablets -- not to mention snacks, iced coffee and a bedpan.

The trip began with a bad omen, as Bolian was pulled over in New York City for relying on the GPS, which sent him the wrong way down a one-way street. But the rest of the trip went fast. How fast? The car reached Redondo Beach, California, in 28 hours and 50 minutes! They had covered 2,803 miles. You can read the announcement at Bolina's website, and the entire story at CNN.  -via mental_floss    

(Image credit: Ed Bolian)


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This race came into the public conciousness due to an article in Sports Illustrated (I think in the 70's). The author, whose name I cannot remember had heard about this group of (crazy) people who were doing this as kind of an informal annual event, decided to enter and actually recruited a fairly famous race car driver to be his co-driver (I think it was Dan Gurney). They drove a barely street-legal racing car and it was a very entertaining story - - the movie was made based on the popularity of this article.
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Reminds me of a time when traveling on I-81 south of Watertown NY. I was in a long straight stretch and could see in my rear view mirror these cars coming up on me very very fast. About a half a dozen new Corvettes flew by me like I was standing still. Wondered what that was all about, but couldn't help think it was some sort of cannon-ball run.
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