(ROAD & TRACK) -- Three guys you've probably never heard of recently broke a speed record most people don't care about—the New York to Los Angeles run referred to colloquially among aficionados as the Cannonball. Unlike most speed records and races, there's no sanctioning body or official rules. That's because setting a Cannonball record invariably involves breaking multiple traffic laws. In other words, it's illegal. But that doesn't stop people from doing it.
You may or may not be aware of its existence, but there's a robust subculture within the automotive enthusiast community that obsesses over the New York-to-L.A. land speed record. Many of them even go so far as to race beater cars coast to coast every year (also against the law) in most-holds-barred Cannonball-style races called the 2904 and the C2C Express. Two members of the informal "fraternity of lunatics," as it calls itself, are Arne Toman and Doug Tabbutt, who—along with a new-to-the-mania young spotter named Berkeley Chadwick—are the latest Cannonball champions. At least two dozen attempts are known to have been made by others since the last record was set in 2013, but only one managed to break 30 hours. Toman, Tabbutt and Chadwick succeeded not just in breaking a record many people thought would be difficult or impossible to break. They utterly destroyed it, making the trip in less than 27 and a half hours.