Get Out N Drive Podcast

The Villain Of Cannonball - Fred Ashmore's 25:55 Cannonball Run Record Breaker Part 2

August 06, 2023 Car Podcast
Get Out N Drive Podcast
The Villain Of Cannonball - Fred Ashmore's 25:55 Cannonball Run Record Breaker Part 2
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Show Notes Transcript

Ride along with Jason OldeCarrGuy Carr & John CustomCarNerd Meyer as they put this Part 2 of this episode into gear with Cannonball Run Record Breaker Fred Ashmore.

After Fred Ashmore's Record Breaking 25:55 Cannonball Run, in a rental car, during COVID, the controversy started to rev up. Rumors were abound that he didn't actually make the run and that his evidence of the run was faked. Officially, there are no rules in Cannonball. So how did Fred break the rules of the Cannonball Run? Jump in for the first of 3 episodes and  hear the story directly from the rule breakin', record breakin' man himself!

So, is Fred Ashmore a Cannonball Villain or THE boot strappin' everyman's hero of Cannonball? Let us know what you think!

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You're listening to the Get Out N Drive Podcast with John Custom Car Nerd Meyer and Jason Olde Carr Guy Carr. We'll be bringing you gearheads, everything you never wanted to know about cars and why they should be on the road and not in your garage. Are you ready to get out N drive?

Fred, before we.

Go any further. Right. We know where this is going. But before our listeners find out where this is. Going let's just do a quick recap. There's a record to be broken and Fred Ashmore is setting his mind to do this. You're talking to a lot of the right people. So you think you're in with the right people, so you think you get to the point where I'm planning this right down to the car that you're going to do the run in, you get a little bit of news. From buddy that says you're in trouble. To some degree by something somebody said. And now you've got to scrap everything to that point and I can just imagine how ****** *** you would have been. Like you said, you know, like. Now all of. A sudden you've got a point to prove. And you've got a job. To do, but now you've. Got no car because you've had to cancel that sale you don't want. Anyone to know what you're driving? Where we go from here? What's the next step? To planning this run, where do you? Find a car.

COVID was the best thing that happened to my run in so many ways and people thought, oh, it's the traffic all, it's the IT wasn't the traffic because I'll tell you right now, the thing that people forget about #1 is they lifted the mandate on truckers. So it did. You could drive 40 hours a week straight with no, no CDL. They were not pulling people over. They were not that the roads were jacked with trucks. And the worst thing on a run is trucks so COVID. Was the best thing that happened because it gave time for me to calm down. It gave me time to be to myself. Like a lot of people know, I can be and it gave me time to deduce what the next step was. The first thing I needed to do was call my brother and my brother is. He's a nice guy, loving me. He's down to earth. He's me without being high strung. He's quiet, he's articulate, he's good looking. He's smart. He's a very intelligent person.

Did you hear how Fred just complemented himself by complimenting his brother?

I don't know how.

Complimented myself. But he's everything I'm not. A very, very. Highly intelligent person. He had a triple major of math, science and physics, and he attended Ithaca and Cornell at the same time. The military took him in to put him on nuclear submarines. He's that guy. So I needed him to. Talk me off the ledge. That's really what it was I had. I didn't know what to do you. Know I was really just. You know, sometimes like I I've told a lot of people and you guys may see it all. My things I say. You know, sometimes you. Just need to go back to bed. Well, when COVID hit pretty much. Going to bed was all you could do. So I have a little. Camper here at my property started cleaning up and started just scheming. What I do next and part of that was. What do I get for a car? And the first thing my brother said is he said, you know, Jr. You just can't use any of these cannonball guys. He just can't use them. He said we're going to have to do this as you guys said, grassroots. General people, you know people you can trust. And people who aren't going to who aren't. Going to stab. You in the back which is. A handful of people because we're in COVID. You don't have a lot of opportunities where you can. You know, travel. You can have people here, people there and do all kinds of things. So we're at, we're in a different zone now where before you had people all over the USA, I can call 20 people and I'll meet you in California or this person. But now I can't call any of them because if this one tells that one who might tell this one who tells that one? Cats out of the bag. So he got me to resort back to the people that I knew, the people that I could trust. But I had to find a car. So I started researching options for rental cars. Because one of the things that really. He owed me. Was the game that was played with the rental car during my 2019 run, and we can talk about that at another time. So the goal was. I'm going to break the rental record. I'm going to break the entire record and I'm going to break the solo record, so I'm going for the hat trick. I'm not messing around, I am going for the hat trick. I want to break them all. And that was that was what the next step was. So Arthur, my brother, started mapping out traffic in and out of New York. The thing we were finding was. Early in the morning, during daylight, nobody was going out of the city. Everybody was coming into. The city, because the people. Were in the city were already working in the city, so they weren't going out of the city, if that makes sense. And the other people that had been. In the city that would go. Out had moved away or gone to. Maine or wherever, so there was very low. Or in the early morning hours. So our goal was we were going to plan to leave in the morning. That was the ultimate plan is we were going to leave in the morning. We sat in a ridiculous pace as far as what we wanted to do and what we wanted to. Break like I. Said it was their initial goal was 20. Five hours, but. I knew sub 26 was possible because the guys who did the Audi that were really kind of unprepared, not taking anything away from them, they're all three of them. Are great guys. I feel really bad for what happened to them and how they were treated when they when they set that first record it was, it was really uncalled for. And I really never, never got on that bandwagon. And that was part of maybe what, you know, set me apart is. People didn't like the fact that I wouldn't get on the bandwagon and chastise these guys for whatever reason, it just wasn't gonna happen. These were guys, they had a white Audi and it was his dad's lease. Car and their his parents were away and. They took him. They put a great big fuel. Tank in the back of it concocted. Up a fuel transfer in it. And just said **** it. We're gonna go do. It and I. Think they ran 2638? And which was a great time. I mean it. It beat the other time. By almost an hour thing was is their car. Would only go 100. And 30 it was, it was. Limited speed limited to 100 and. 30 and I said, man. If these guys were limited to a. 130. With little to no experience, you know. What could I actually do? In a car, you know? What could I actually put down for? A number. So I started looking. For a better car. I'm like, I'm going by myself and well, this is one of the interesting things a lot of people didn't know is my brother and I had thought about doing it together. But when COVID hit that scratched. He was my voice in the air the whole way. You know, you need to get to this town. This time, you know you're behind by this amount you picked up. This amount why? Why is your speed dropped off? On glimpse, you know what's going on. It it just kind of stayed in my ear as that took place. I started looking for a car. That a solo person could ride in that was fast enough and started doing the calculations. OK, I'm doing a solo run. What if I eliminate the people and replace them with fuel and a lot of people are like, Oh my word? There's so much weight and. So much this and when. You actually sit down and figure it out. We're placing 150 to 170 pound. Body with fuel that burns off as you go. It's kind of ingenious. It's like you're taking a person and grabbing them by the seat of the pants and throwing them out the window every, you know, two or three hours. There was only a. Couple of companies that had Mustangs and one of them was hurt. So I made the made the reservation for Hertz. And we picked a day that we were we were planning on doing it from. There I got the car. But not the car I wanted. So when I drove in. My buddy took me up to the. The Hertz rental and we drove by this Silver Mustang sitting on the right side. And they said, oh, geez, I wonder if that's my car. And I was like, ohh, no, that's avis. So we drove down. To Hertz and I walked. Up to the counter and I said to the guys like, hey, I'm here. To pick up the Mustang and he says, Mustang. I said yes, I said I have a reservation and it looks. Like goes. Ohh yeah, we gave out the last Mustang yesterday. I said what? I said I reserved the Mustang. Ohh well, we'll upgrade you to Cadillac. I said I don't want a Cadillac. I want a must.


Well, you know, I. Said no, this is like a bad Seinfeld episode. Do you know how to take the reservation? You just don't know. How to keep the? Reservation and that's. What I said to him. He's like, well, I don't know what to do. This is what I said. I said my daughter don't want to ride across the country. No damn Cadillac. I said cancel my reservation and I headed over to Avis and I was like, I saw it was a 50. And I said, is that car for rent and just some young girl there who, you know, Durham, COVID, she didn't want to be there she. Want to be somewhere? Else I said, can I rent that car? And she says. Yeah. And I think I. Was I was gone in like. It was some Stew. It wasn't the 1520 minutes. I'd have the absolute most. It might even been 10. I signed everything and away I went, and then I just. I headed over to my buddy shop and pulled in and started talking to him and measuring for tanks. And I wasn't there. The car was parked out front. I was talking to him and I heard. This noise outside. And I'm like, what in the world is that? I walked outside and there was goats all over that Mustang standing on the Mustang rental.

Car just rented it.

And there's goats all over the.

Roof of this.

Mustang and you get and you want to. Scream and holler at them. But you can't. You can't holler because. They're going to, you know, get all you. Know freak out and scratch it all up.

You know, Jason, we sure get to talk a lot, yes, and some of Us more than others. Who me? I'm not pointing Any fingers. Yes, you are. But we want to hear from our listeners. Just go to our website, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the listener hotline button. We want to hear from you. Cool stories. Breakdown stories. Hate mail, even hate mail, even hate mail. You got a car show in your area, let us know, tell us an interesting story. Let us know what you like to get out N drive. 
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So we managed. To get the goats off it, I brought in and start tearing the thing apart. Started sourcing tanks. And before you know it, I found. A bunch of tanks on. Marketplace, I got everything plumbed up. And started just doing some, you know transfers to see if everything would work right and. Now we got a car. Now we're. All set, we just have to choose what? Day we were gonna do. It buy that car.

Did you?

Well, there's more to the story, you.

Be far ahead. I'm sorry.

Alright, so no, I at the time I did. Not buy the car. It was. It was a full blown rental car. And it was under, I think I. Had it two weeks. I think I had it for two weeks and I extended the rental because we were gonna do the bandit rump and my dad was coming down. He planned we were. Gonna do the bandit run. I've got my brother all set. We've got our routes all picked out and everything and. Now it's time to put up or. Shut up. Got in. The car got all my laser jammers and stuff set. Up on it. And headed to New York. I was cruising and got there and probably if there was a mistake I made on. The way there. Was thinking I could get fuel in New York City and that was probably one of my worries I had is that it didn't quite have enough to get half. So we decided we're going to leave at 6:00 AM, which was right around sunrise and. It was a. It was a good round Number. It's easier on the person who's calculating your time when you leave at a round Number, so I. Got out of New York.

Tell our listeners how do you make this official? How do you say I'm starting at this time and it becomes official to be a record?

That was the hard part. Is everybody always said? And this was always the staple. There's a certain amount of. Trust that you have in people. I have no reason to sit here and argue. With them, debate with. Them or anything else? Now it's a completely different story. So when I was doing it, we were told you have certain things. You have phone records, you have. One of the things I used was glimpse. Screenshots you can't make up where you. Are when you're on clips. So I would do glimpse screenshots which will tell you how fast you were going and it would also tell you know where you were in the country and it has your name on it. So those were some. Of the ways that to where? I was at what time I was there. So there was. A lot of things. That I did to document my run. I facetimed at my start, I facetimed at my finish so I did that to cover myself there because we're talking about COVID. We're talking about you're not even supposed to be in downtown New York. You couldn't go anywhere. So you pretty much had to drive where you were. There was no just randomly wandering around renting cars all over the country or flying around. So yeah, I took probably 1520 photos close to the departure time and then I took photos. At the departure time with all of my timing devices and everything, you know I got ready to get out of. Get out of. Town. And so I'm. Always at benchmarks you know, Wheeling WV. You know Indianapolis, Terre Haute, you know, just different areas along the way that you use this benchmarks and. That's where I did. My screenshots and stuff that screenshot where I was how fast it was going. Anytime I could be. Full throttle wide open. I was. And I'm not. Going to say. I didn't get behind some orange cones. At some point, or use a breakdown lane. Or maybe I shouldn't have but. I had a mission. And I was going to accomplish. It or I was going to go to jail. That's just. The way I. Looked at it. It was so cool to just sit. There and just the car shook a little bit and it, you know, the wind was whipping over the top of the car and. You just kind of settle. In and being. A race car driver, anybody that drives. Race cars or stuff. They just kind of settle in. Get comfortable. And you know, go to work, you know whether. You're lapping cars. Whether you're, you know, doing jumps in. The Baja. You just settle. In to where you're comfortable. And do what you need to. Do and that's really where I was. I was settled in and I was going just as fast as I possibly could to get where I needed to go and. We got into Tulsa. Which was my halfway point. We were moving. We were completely flying. And then when we pulled down into the Tulsa and I started getting ahold of my guys, I got a hold of Grant and Brady and they were all set. They had the pumps all set up. They have these big bulk tanks in the back of your trucks. I asked him. To upgrade his pump. Because he's a he's on Tulsa time. Grant is the nicest guy. You ever meet? And he's just the Tulsa boy and he's. A real cowboy. So I asked Grant if we could get a. 20 gallon per minute. Friend, you're not gonna pay me for it and. I'm like whatever Grant and I come off the Interstate and I felt like I was at Daytona 500. I felt like Harry. Hog and Tom Cruise days of Thunder. I'm paddle shipping. I pulled down in there and I'm taking the caps off the tanks in the car and as I'm pulling up and putting and park popping the trunk, and by the time. I get out. So I showed up and he was good. He was loaded. He had. Fuel and they've already unscrewed the back. I've they've reached in the passenger side door and I've. I've filled those tanks and. They the other guys, got the caps off the back. So crazy fuel stop. 126 gallons in 8 minutes. In that car. Then the sun started coming down. And when the sun comes down, things start changing. A little bit. You've been up for a while. Things that. Aren't moving seem like they're moving everything you know starts to be a blur at that speed. I was running my running my light. We're running. Started running into the night and stuff and. The trucks were probably the biggest thing that nobody talks about. Everybody automatically thinks there was nobody on the road, you know, this was this is a drag strip. There's nobody else on it but you and. It just wasn't the way it was there. Was less car traffic? Yes. But by no means any way shape or form. Was there no traffic on the road? If anything, it was more. Congested with trucks, which tend to be the most dangerous things to cannonball. They can be their your biggest friends. They can be your biggest enemies. **** *** a trucker, you **** *** all the truckers because one radios the other radios, the other radios, the other, and you have to maintain a certain amount of Rd. prowess around them because they can end. Your run really quick. I've had friends that they've put off the road. I've had friends that they've just parked next to each other and don't let you buy. It happened to me in 19. So as we were blazing. Along and everything was going pretty good. You know, there was no animal issues. I didn't have any animals run out in front of me, which is why I chose to leave at sun up because as a solo driver. You are your eyes. You are your ears. You are everything. You're your. Own spotter and not having any help. You require as much daylight as possible. And the best thing to do. Is to put the sunshine at your back. And have it chase you across the country and eventually it passes you. The least amount of driving at night for solo driver. Is to me. Is the. Best opportunity. So you needed to use every single thing I could to an. Advantage fuel stops was an advantage. I had one some of the other guys that did it had five or six fuel stops or unplanned stops and I. Didn't we figure? I got out of there in 8 minutes for. My one stop. And you have. Five or six stops and it takes you, let's just say 5 minutes to stop. That's 30 minutes right there. 30 minutes, minute -8. That's 22 minutes I gained. Up a lot. Of people don't take that into consideration. Where I took advantage of every opportunity I could gas instead of people. So those three people in the car are going to ride with you, whether you fuel up or not. So your car is. Is at the realm. Of poor fuel mileage the entire time. Whereas I'm burning off fuel. I'm picking up miles per gallon. I'm losing weight.

So I think it's important. To note here right now that. You know. In this particular case, for the most part, everything worked out in your favor. You took chances. You had the one fuel stop. You didn't get pulled over by cops. She didn't hit any animals. She didn't have an accident. You didn't get any run with any truckers. Like all of this worked in your favor. To do this record and this this trifecta. They very it very. Quickly could have gone the other way, and that's what a lot of people kept. I think they kept at questioning. Why did it work out for him? Because so many people have done it and have had the. Cops and the gas and. The animals and the truckers become an issue. So I just, I think it's important to note. That, yeah, all. Those risks and all those problems were there. You just happen to avoid them.

Yeah, and. And the biggest thing like you said is people. People ask why. But they don't. They also don't. Realize how many times I've done this. Everything has an unknown factor of the pump could have broke and not worked and fueled the car and it might have been a 30 minute fuel spot stopped by the time I got the fuel in the car. Or I might have had to stop at a fuel station cause they got. Stuck in traffic and didn't show up in. So there's so many things like you said. That could have happened. It didn't, but anybody. Who's ever gotten in the car with me? Whether it's to go across the country, whether it's to go across town? They know that I'm going to eliminate every single thing that can go wrong in the vehicle. A lot of my lot of my cannonball cars, they don't have heaters. That's why I eliminated as many things as possible and that's why my runs have been successful is because I take out the element of the unknown. If the heater isn't there, the heater can't break. If the AC belt isn't on the compressor and the compressor isn't on the car. I'm not lugging around. Wait, I. I don't need. And I don't have to worry about the compressor clutch blowing up that, you know, 140 and putting myself on the side of the road because they all run off the. Same belt, there's so. Many aspects of people don't look at. When it comes to the entirety of the rump, whether it was the fact that we unorthodox left out in New York at 6:00 AM. That that I don't notice to anybody else has done it since me, but up to the point that I did it. Everybody's like, oh, you gotta leave at midnight. You gotta leave at midnight. Gotta leave at midnight. And when I talked to others afterwards, they said, well, we. Considered leaving at that time.

But they didn't.

And the traffic, the traffic patterns in watching. Is one of the biggest things that helped us by watching the different cities at different times. What was congested and what was it? And really, for the most part, all the. Way across the USA. We took that. Element of surprise out of it now. There's some guys that ran really close to my time as a. Team that got stuck in a hostage situation. I mean, you want to talk about. The unknown, these guys. Are stuck in a hostage situation.

They have to.

Go like 100 miles out of the way and they wind up missing my time by, you know, 20 minutes. So if  you take all that stuff. And you put it. In to what happens to people or what can happen to people? It's about the person that takes the most time to eliminate as many unknowns as possible, and that was really what made my run special up until the point I got to California. And that was my unknown. Unknown of what was going to take place when I. Got to the AG center. It was. When I got there. You pull up. And it's an unknown I've. Gone through there. Probably a dozen times. In my life. And many times, there's nobody. There they pull you up. Know if you got any blah. Blah blah, blah blah blah. Blah and you go through COVID was a little different. It was. COVID was still fresh, was still new. There were still. Mandates there were still lockdowns. And I got there and there was a. Person with the car. All four. And I'm sitting there, you know, sweating razor blades going. I gotta keep this cool. You know, if I'm sitting here sweating, you know, sweating like a dog looking at these people who want to know why I'm coming to California. I don't know what their rules are. I don't know what their laws are. I'm just a guy. In a car trying. To do something stupid. And then I. That to you know, assess the situation as I sat there is to what I was gonna tell him when I got to the front of the line. Because as you're sitting there, as you're sleep deprived, as you're tired. Everything's going through your head like. I said I think of a. Million things a minute and.

So what?

What are they looking for? You know, what have they? You know what are? What are they looking for? Or am I? Not even going to be allowed here because. You know, I'm not a resident or I don't have. A letter from. Somebody saying why I'm coming to California. Are they going to question why my passenger seat is? Covered up with. A bath towel or blanket. Or you know what's going on with this brand new guy showing up by himself, going. I don't know. I don't make the rules. I'm just the guy at. The checkpoint. So I just said to myself. I've got a car, Texas plates on it. Best thing to do is say I'm an essential worker. I took a job in California. And I just as I sat there with time just it's so hard. You guys have no idea. You're just sitting there and. And I don't listen to the. Radio I I'm a numbers guy. I watch the numbers. I watch the timer. I watched the gas gauge. I watched the you know everything just going against me and you're sitting there. And this was my. Ohh I don't know if I was gonna go. To jail, I. Didn't know if I was gonna be told. You gotta take this exit. And go back. To where you came from. So I just sat there and fortunately for me it worked in my favor in the sense that I could keep going on my rum. However, I wasn't going to be able to. Maintain the time I wanted to, which was at this point we were really kind of around the 2530 areas. What we thought we could do and. Then I got into California and an officer chased. Me and. So you go about your business, you people say, well, did you get pulled over? I was. Like, no, I didn't stop. And I was gonna go jail either way. I mean I figure. I might as well roll the dice I mean. If nothing else, make it you. Can make a good YouTube video on a dash. Cam so I just as soon as I. Ohh I am I started thinking million miles a second. What do I do? And I saw an exit coming up. Off the exit. Well, he could see. I got off. I intentionally put my. Blinker on he. Could see I got off my exit. Cause there's a big red light flashing however far away I had was ahead of him and I just used the series of exits and. We're gonna clear something up right now, cause apparently some people don't understand how this works. I call it the equivalent of. Clover leafing, OK. Now there's been some people really upset that I use the word cloverleaf. Now, anybody who has a GPS is half intelligent, understands. And I'll ask you guys, I'm here's my 60 seconds for. You when you get off your route on. Your GPS. What does it do?

Recalculate tells you to recalculate. Wow, think of that.

So I got off my roof and it recalculated it. And I intentionally went the wrong. Way so that it wouldn't. Put me directly back on the Interstate where the cop was so that it would recalculate me back in the direction I needed to go. With a way to get. Away from the officer. So when I say I quote cloverleaf, it doesn't mean I may ring around the rosies and drove in circles four times. It means. I used a series. Of exits to recalculate myself to drive. In the same direction. You can thank our GPS's. For it, this isn't this. You don't have to go to school. For this. All you have to do is put destination and turn the. Wrong way and it will recalculate. So it wasn't rocket science. It's really simple. I got off the Interstate. I intentionally took a wrong turn and the GPS corrected me to put me back behind the officer wherever he went, and then I went. About the business, so. I didn't get pulled over. He went the wrong way and now I'm a stressed out mask going into Redondo because I don't know if people have called, meaning not cannonballers, meaning police officers. So this guy could have called ahead. He could have said vehicle high rate of speed. They have been known. That some of the cannonball stuff had come out. This is the one of the. Million things going through. My head. Could somebody be at the Portofino? We don't know. I I have no idea so. I pull in. There, and there's no brass there. There's no, there's no big finish line. No stripe to draw through drive. Through or anything, it's just me. Foggy morning and my car. So I get out and take some pictures. Do what I need to do, make my FaceTime phone call so I have my phone records and that was that about that time? A caretaker come out on the golf cart and I said, well, if I'm not supposed to be here, he's probably going to going to call and tell me that I'm not supposed to be here. So I just pulled over by the crab shack. The picture said 25:55. And that's the story of 25:55 and. From there, we turned around and we headed. It back to Tulsa. I came back to town. I picked up my truck, went and grabbed my dad, and my dad had no idea who did the we kept it on the downlow. Because if I Didn't do it. Then there's no sense to make a big fanfare of it. And my dad is borderline shocked slash surprise slash maybe crying. Not necessarily knowing how to react to. It and at that point it was kind of like. OK. Now we have to be very careful how we handle this thing.

That is, that is a long, long answer to a very simple question and. I love it. I I absolutely love it because that's what. I end up doing.

Can you imagine if something actually happened of significance or I had a dog or, you know, I got pulled over? Or, you know, there's . For as long as that answer. There was a it could have. Been a lot longer with. Incidents along the day, but I thought.

Oh yeah, definitely.

When we took the time to talk about it would clear up some of the things that That people have Made mountains out of molehills that really. Is basically. A bunch of foolishness.

Now I want to go back to something I asked you at the beginning of this interview and that was what are the rules of Cannonball now? The short answer to that was there are no rules. OK, Brock Gates said it himself. When we started the cannonball back in whatever year it was and. Here you are. You've gone with no rules. You've made the run in 25:55. And when? The time came that you could actually announce. That you did the 25:55. All the sudden people are trying to poke holes in your story. Yeah, because a they don't think that you did it on a school run. They don't think you did it in a rental car and they claim that you had an unfair advantage doing it during COVID everything that they were. Trying to poke at you. Comes down to the one rule that Brock Gates set at the beginning of the Cannonball Run. How are they trying to deny you? This win, how are they trying? Like how are they trying to pull this away from you?

So again, there's no rules. You can release the information whenever you want.

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