My first automotive enthusiast memory was the intro of The
Cannonball Run. Saw the movie in the theater with dad when I was ~10
It was the moment I started asking dad about cars, it was the moment I took notice and realized cars were more that just “Dad’s hobby”
I’m sure something else would have come along that sealed the deal for me, but this was my first time. Everyone remembers their first time.
Yates was inspired by Erwin G. “Cannonball” Baker, (1882–1960), who set several coast-to-coast records, to initiate the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. This cross-continent road race was a protest against the loss of personal freedom in America, and speed limits in particular. The first run was completed as a reconnaissance by Brock and a friend traveling coast-to-coast in a full size Dodge van. The first actual race was won by Brock and Formula One and Le Mans winner Dan Gurney in a Sunoco blue Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona. The duo traveled from New York to Los Angeles in a then record time of 35 hours, 53 minutes. In all, five Cannonballs were run between 1971 and 1979, although Yates never again won.The event has continued on in the form of the Tire Rack One Lap of America Presented by Grassroots Motorsport Magazine. The event is now run by his son Brock Yates Junior. 2013 will see the 30th anniversary of the event. www.onelapofamerica.com