With the roads empty as ever, a group of opportunists seized the moment.
A new trans-American "Cannonball" record has reportedly been set, after a team of drivers allegedly drove from New York to Los Angeles in just 26 hours, 38 minutes - a full 45 minutes faster than the previous record, set in November, 2019. That time implies the team carried an average speed of about 106 mph over the 2,825-mile run from New York's Red Ball Garage to California's Portofino Hotel & Marina in Redondo Beach.
Road & Track broke the news, although the outlet doesn't know the identities of the brash drivers; no one currently does. But we do know that they did it in a modified Audi A8 with a big pair of marine fuel tanks stowed in the trunk.
The timing of the record-breaking run is problematic, to say the least; with so much of the country on lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic gripping the nation, it could be seen as taking advantage of a bad situation. The country in full-blown crisis mode has most of us at home trying to flatten the curve, making now most certainly an inappropriate time as ever for an illegal, unsanctioned speed run.
But then, the Cannonball has always been inherently reckless. Ed Bolian - a previous Cannonball record holder - put it best in his interview with Road & Track:
"Do I think this is the best use of time while the country is staying in during a pandemic? Probably not, but for me to say it's awful is like a cocaine dealer saying a heroin dealer is awful."
Alex Roy, who set a Cannonball record back in 2006, was less forgiving in his appraisal of the record.
"If you hit a truck moving medical supplies and people die because of it, that's on you," he said, according to Road & Track. "People are counting on those trucks moving around right now. It's not funny."
The Cannonball Run has a history stretching back to 1933, when Erwin "Cannon Ball" Baker made the drive in 53-and-a-half hours. The late, legendary Brock Yates of Car and Driver fame started the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash some four decades later, partly as an homage to Baker, and partly as a protest against speed limits and other legal and social constraints.