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The Highly Daring, Absurdly Illegal Race to Conquer the Legendary Cannonball Run


Ashmore knew he wasn’t alone in wondering if the global catastrophe was creating an unlikely opportunity. What he would soon discover, though, was that the lockdown was spawning a frenzy.

One of the drivers who toyed with making a run was Carl “Yumi” Dietz, who drove up to New York from South Carolina on April 3 and decided to give it a shot. Almost instantly he discovered that conditions were ideal. Manhattan had long been regarded as “the destroyer of Cannonball dreams,” as one race veteran put it: On a normal run in typical traffic, it can take more than an hour to get out of the city; under 20 minutes is considered lucky. Dietz set off from the Red Ball at 4 p.m., when New York is usually jammed with traffic, but the streets were deserted, and he blasted off the island in five minutes. “I may or may not have hit triple-digit speed in the Lincoln Tunnel,” he said. “Who can say that?”

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