The first Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash was run solo in May of 1971. The second was November of the same year, 1971, and, with Dan Gurney driving a Ferrari Daytona, established a time of 35 hours and 54 minutes from New York City to Los Angeles. The event was repeated in 1972 and 1975. In 1979 the race gained so much notoriety that the sponsor, Brock Yates, wishing to capitalize on the publicity, moved the start from Manhattan to Connecticut. This provided a large venue for the eager press, as well as avoiding the traffic jams of New York City and New Jersey. However, the publicity and potential legal liability caused this to be the last Cannonball. Since then, of course, many copycat efforts have been staged, and numerous drivers have claimed to better the record.

In the 1975 event Jack May and Rick Cline drove a Ferrari Dino 246GTS to a time of 35 hours and 53 minutes, averaging 83 miles an hour and setting a new record, despite spending well over an hour in jail in Ohio and being misdirected and lost in Los Angeles.

This record will stand in perpetuity as the fastest time from New York City to Los Angeles in the Cannonball.