The Cannonball Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash - GM Forum - Buick, Cadillac, Chev, Olds, GMC & Pontiac chat


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Old 12-29-2004, 03:51 AM   #1
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Default The Cannonball Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dash

I must have been living under a rock for all of my twenty-one years. How is it that I (and apparently many other people) have never heard of these famous transcontinental races of the 1970s? My sister bought the book Cannonball! by Brock Yates for my dad this Christmas, and boy am I glad she did. It is the story of Yates' organization and running of five outlaw road races from New York to Los Angeles. In these races there was only one rule: there are no rules. Well, technically the car had to drive the whole way with the same drivers who started the race, but that was about it. The choice of route and speed was purely at the discretion of the drivers, and cops/speeding tickets were viewed as hazards just like weather and darkness. The stories of the different races are absolutely amazing, and it makes me wish I had been alive back then to participate! And yes, these real-life races were the direct inspiration for the films "Cannonball" and "Cannonball Run."

I would encourage anyone who reads this thread to either borrow or buy this book. It is an amazing story of something that I thought could never happen in the US, but did. The writing isn't always the most eloquent, but the spirit of the story and race is beautiful. Believe me, it will make you fall completely in love with cars again! Anybody who has read this book or researched these races please post. And to those of you who have never heard of the Cannonball Sea-to-Shining Sea Memorial Trophy Dashes: READ THIS BOOK! I can almost guarantee you'll thank me!
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Old 12-29-2004, 09:45 AM   #2
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I've seen a few of the movies. I don't know if they are the actual runs or not, but I think they were. Fun stuff. If I could, I would totally do that with the Bonnie. Something would break.. but that would be part of the fun .


-justin
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Old 12-29-2004, 04:20 PM   #3
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Honestly, the concept of this race has to be the coolest thing I've ever heard of. It'* like the Silver State Classic, except on a much larger scale. As I said before, please look for this book or research the Cannonball races on the internet. It'* some of the most interesting automotive history you'll ever read, and it will make you love the freedom of travel we have in this country. What a cool concept!

In it'* final running in 1979, the Cannonball had over 40 cars participate. The winners drove a '78 Jaguar XJS from New York to Los Angeles in a TOTAL time (yes, this includes all stops and/or speeding tickets) of only 32 hours, 51 minutes. Isn't that incredible? Their AVERAGE speed for that duration (again, this includes time stopped for gas, malfunctions, speeding tickets, etc.) was nearly 88 miles per hour. Absolutely amazing. And I never even knew these races existed. Anybody else have thoughts on this topic?
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Old 12-30-2004, 09:09 AM   #4
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They still have Cannonball Runs, but its mostly for high end sports cars. I cant remember what they are called now. The buy in is a few grand. But they stop every night in certain cities and the buy in money pays for your hotel. They have dvd'* that you can rent or buy that show all the cars, cops, girls, and parties. its definetly not like the 70'*, but the tradition still lives.
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Old 12-30-2004, 12:14 PM   #5
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I know they still run an event called "One Lap of America" that was also organized by Brock Yates. I don't know much about its format, but the driving distance is some 7000 miles, as opposed to approximately 2900 for the transcontinental Cannonball.

How many of you guys knew about the Cannonball races? I feel like I've been missing out on a hugely interesting aspect of motorsports history for my whole life! After reading Brock Yates' book, I'm certain that someday I'll have to enter the Silver State Classic. I'm totally pumped up to do some point-to-point racing now.
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Old 12-30-2004, 12:27 PM   #6
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One Lap of America visits tracks accross the country as well.
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Old 01-01-2005, 07:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for the correction.... I just read the last chapter of Yates' book, and it clarified that point.

It'* interesting, though, how times have really changed in just 30 years. An event like the Cannonball would have a much higher level of legal risk in this day and age. It makes a guy wish he was born a little earlier in the century!
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Old 01-01-2005, 10:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redssei01
They still have Cannonball Runs, but its mostly for high end sports cars. I cant remember what they are called now. The buy in is a few grand. But they stop every night in certain cities and the buy in money pays for your hotel. They have dvd'* that you can rent or buy that show all the cars, cops, girls, and parties. its definetly not like the 70'*, but the tradition still lives.
which is I Beleve called Gumball Rally now
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Old 01-01-2005, 10:12 PM   #9
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Can I borrow your Dads copy of the book?
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Old 01-03-2005, 05:35 AM   #10
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Hehehe.... it'* his turn to read it now. I snatched it up before he could dive into it and did some serious speed reading for a few nights after Christmas. I'm not sure how much it cost. It'* a paperback copy, so I don't think it would break the bank if you found it at a Barnes & Noble or similar establishment. As I said before, I would HIGHLY recommend picking up a copy. It will renew your passion for cars that perform well, and give you some great laughs as you work your way through the individual stories of Cannonball experiences. I wish more people were viewing this thread and finding copies to read. Yeah, I feel like Oprah trying to recommend my book of the month, but this is a story by a car lover for other car lovers. If you have an interest in motorsports and/or history, this will be right up your alley!
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