They Drove Across the US in 27 Hours

It's a 'Cannonball' record, and a highly illegal one at that
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2019 4:14 PM CST
They Drove Across the US in 27 Hours
Stock photo.   (Getty/forrest9)

They got into their car in Manhattan just before 1am on November 10. They pulled into a hotel parking lot in Los Angeles the following morning. More specifically, Arne Toman, Doug Tabbutt, and Berkeley Chadwick completed their cross-country road trip in an astonishing 27 hours and 25 minutes, reports Road and Track. That's 2,825 miles at an average speed of 103mph—including a top speed of 193mph. Yes, it's highly illegal. It's also a record in the culture of Cannonball-style road racing. The lengthy story digs in to how the trio pulled it off in their souped-up but relatively ordinary-looking Mercedes-Benz sedan (that it looked ordinary was key to avoiding attention from police), without an accident or even a single speeding ticket.

For one thing, they had pretty much every kind of high-tech radar-detecting equipment known to man. Toman and Tabbutt split the driving, while Chadwick manned the powerful binoculars and acted as a police spotter. The bigger key, however, may have been the human volunteers—18 in all—who drove ahead of them on parts of the journey to make sure the coast was clear. "Their greatest success was in inspiring that many people to go out in the middle of the night, drive into the middle of nowhere, and help them beat something everyone said was impossible," says Ed Bolian, co-holder of the previous record of 28 hours, 50 minutes. Read the full story, which acknowledges the danger of the sport and the "potential for disaster" for mere mortal drivers on the road. (More Longform stories.)

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