There was a time in this country, starting in the mid-1970s and ending in the early 1980s, when the most daring car enthusiasts in America were the ones gunning to get from New York to Los Angeles by car quicker than anyone had done before. It was known to most as the Cannonball Run. And in 1983, a 32-hour, 7-minute record was set that was considered unbeatable.
It was until 2006, when Alex Roy and a small group of his lunatic friends stepped into an extensively modified E39 BMW M5 and beat that record by a full hour and three minutes. (Roy’s record was later beaten by Ed Bolian in 2013.)
It’s a wild story, the kind of story that deserves a movie. So it got one. This is Apex: The Secret Race Across America. And you’ll be able to watch it on NBC Sports and iTunes later this month.
If you’re a longtime reader of this website, you’ve probably heard this story. And you probably know Alex Roy, a friend to many of us here and someone I think is best described as a bon vivant of speed. But his book on the matter and the many articles devoted to the record run can only tell part of the story.
This film aims to tell all of it, including the history of transcontinental speed runs in America, through interviews with the participants and footage from when the runs were done. It features Roy, Matt Farah, the late, great Brock Yates, SimCity creator and record holder/participant Will Wright and more telling the stories of what really happened.
It’s also narrated by Ice-T, and I could listen to that dude talk about anything.
It’s perfectly fair to have mixed feelings about the Cannonball Run, to say the least. Some see it as a crucial part of American car culture, a rebellion against traffic laws and perceived encroachments on freedom of movement. Others see it as a pointless and dangerous provocation. In truth, it’s all of those things and more, and I’m eager to see the full picture painted by this film.
The movie premieres Sunday, October 20th at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports and then on iTunes.