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Pixar’s Cars 3 pays tribute racing legends in new characters

After watching the 12-minute preview of Pixar’s “Cars 3,” which can see at the Road to the Races tour, I remarked that the sequel was a clear tribute to everyone who loved the sport and history of racing (which got its start when moonshiners boosted their cars to run from the law). From small dirt tracks to super speedways, stock car racing played a key role in our nation’s history. Although interest in racing has diminished in the last few years, I wouldn’t be surprised if “Cars 3” was responsible for a little spike in interest later this year.

An article in the next ESPN The Magazine takes a look at some of the new characters in “Cars 3” that were inspired by some of the sports real pioneers.

River Scott

Inspiration: Wendell Scott
2015 NASCAR Hall of Fame, first (and so far only) African-American to win a Cup Series race
Voiced by: Isiah Whitlock Jr.

Junior “Midnight” Moon

Inspiration: Junior Johnson
2010 NASCAR Hall of Fame and inspiration for the movie “The Last American Hero”
Voiced by: Junior Johnson


Inspiration: Smokey Yunick
Legendary mechanic, winning car builder/crew chief of both Daytona 500 and Indy 500
Voiced by: Chris Cooper

Louise “Barnstormer” Nash

Inspiration: Louise Smith
“First Lady of Racing,” competed in NASCAR from 1945 to ’56, winning 
38 races across four divisions
Voiced by: Margo Martindale

I love that they got Junior Johnson to voice his own car!

Check out the original article for photos of the original racers and comments from Pixar’s directors on why they’re in the film.

About the film:

Blindsided by a new generation of blazing-fast racers, the legendary Lightning McQueen (voice of Owen Wilson) is suddenly pushed out of the sport he loves. To get back in the game, he will need the help of an eager young race technician, Cruz Ramirez (voice of Cristela Alonzo), with her own plan to win, plus inspiration from the late Fabulous Hudson Hornet and a few unexpected turns. Proving that #95 isn’t through yet will test the heart of a champion on Piston Cup Racing’s biggest stage! Directed by Brian Fee (storyboard artist “Cars,” “Cars 2“), produced by Kevin Reher (“A Bug’s Life,” “La Luna” short) and co-produced by Andrea Warren (“LAVA” short), “Cars 3” cruises into theaters on June 16, 2017.

1 thought on “Pixar’s Cars 3 pays tribute racing legends in new characters”

  1. I’ll just point out that “racing” didn’t get its start from moonshiners – what eventually became NASCAR did.
    People had been racing, including in cars, for a *long* time before that.

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