A nation in varying states of lockdown due to a pandemic means more people at home, and that in turn means fewer people on the road. Is it any wonder, then, that the Cannonball Run record for cross-country drives has been repeatedly broken in the last year? The route covers around 2,800 miles, beginning at Manhattan’s Red Ball Garage and ending at Los Angeles’s Portofino Hotel.
Now, one man has accomplished this drive in 25 hours and 55 minutes. Road & Track‘s Angelo Melluso has the details of how Fred Ashmore set a new record in the (unsanctioned and illegal) race using a rented Mustang GT. Ashmore, who’s no stranger to racing events, differed from the traditional way of accomplishing this feat in a few ways. First, he did so alone. And second, he stopped to refuel exactly once.
How did he pull this off, you might ask? After renting the car, he removed as much of the interior as he could and added fuel tanks. When he set out on his fateful drive, he did so in a car capable of holding 130 gallons of gasoline. As for that refueling stop, that also showcased a diabolically clever methodology:
Ashmore says he had calculated his fuel consumption pretty well (the Mustang ended up averaging about 12 mpg), but instead of taking his chances at whichever gas station happened to be nearby when fuel ran low, he maintained contact with a couple of friends driving a pickup truck with 150 gallons of gasoline sloshing around in a bed-mounted fuel tank. They coordinated a meeting place just off I-44 and refilled the whole collection of fuel tanks in under eight minutes.
Once he arrived in Los Angeles, he turned the car around and headed back home. Total cost of the the gear and the rental? $3,000. It takes more than a little ingenuity to pull that off, but that’s exactly what Ashmore has done.
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