On October 5th, the automotive journalism industry learned about the passing of Brock Yates, the founder of the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash and One Lap of America events. Yates was also a longtime editor at Car and Driver.
The passing of Yates was announced by his son, Brock Yates Jr. on Facebook. In the post, Yates Jr. wrote that “today, after suffering with Alzheimer’s for the last 12 years, my father finally succumbed.” “He touched many lives, but sadly no more.”
Brock Yates was born on October 21st, 1933 in Buffalo, New York, USA and began his career as an automotive journalist in the 1960s. In 1966, he became an editor at Car and Driver. In the 1970s, Yates and another editor came up with the Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial trophy Dash (more commonly known as Cannonball Run). This unsanctioned cross-country event was created in protest to the imminent 55 mph national highway speed limit. The races were held till 1979 and set many cross-country records. The 1981 cult classic movie “The Cannonball Run” was based on the screenplay written by Brock Yates.
In 1984, Yates created a new event called One Lap of America. This annual event is still run to date and focuses primarily on motorsports while continuing the cross-country theme established by the Cannonball Run. During the event, participants are judged on their time/speed/distance traveled as it is a rally competition conducted on public roads. During the trip, the competitors visit various racetracks throughout the country.
Even though Brock Yates is no longer among us, his contributions to the world of automotive journalism, motorsports, and pop culture will never be forgotten. Rest in peace Brock.
Image Source: Google
Information Source: Motor Trend