As we anxiously await the release of Cars 3 later this month we take a final look into The Nascar Legends, Voice Talent, and returning Veterans coming to the big screen. Trust me you will be blown away about who you hear and see in this highly anticipated film!
The Legends of Cars 3
Filmmakers wanted to infuse “Cars 3” with a nod to racing history and the nostalgia of the early days. As Lightning McQueen struggles to get back on top, his explorations lead him to a group of characters who represent the roots of stock car racing—and provide a link to Lightning’s late coach and mentor, Doc Hudson. To really home in on who these characters should be, members of the story team went to NASCAR’s Daytona 500 to soak up the atmosphere. “We found a wealth of information there that gave us a springboard to find these characters,” says Rich. “They show Lightning that racing can be a lifetime thing. It might change over time, but you adapt and learn to race differently. The love of racing has never left these legends.”
Former Piston Cup team owner, SMOKEY teamed up with the Fabulous Hudson Hornet back in the ’50s. His gruff exterior and strong opinions served him well as crew chief—and he owns what’s arguably the best dang garage in town. He still wrestles with trusting his head or his gut, but when it comes to his friends—he’s all heart.
Smokey was inspired by real-life legend Henry “Smokey” Yunick. A racer and designer in NASCAR’s early days, Yunick was best known as a mechanic, builder and crew chief. He was twice named NASCAR mechanic of the year, and his teams won 57 NASCAR Cup Series races, including two championships in the early 1950s. Smokey’s Best Damn Garage in Town was an infamous part of Daytona Beach for four decades.
Chris Cooper provides the voice of Smokey in the film.
Piston-Cup legend JUNIOR “MIDNIGHT” MOON got his start running homemade “fuel” through the wooded back roads with only the moon to light the way.
NASCAR legend Robert Glenn “Junior” Johnson both inspired and lends his voice to the character. Johnson won 50 NASCAR races in the 1950s and 1960s. He got his start in an unconventional way—making moonshine runs for his family business throughout the mountains of eastern North Carolina. The recipe was later shared with Piedmont Distillers and is sold under the label Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon.
Known as the “First Lady of Racing,” LOUISE “BARNSTORMER” NASH didn’t have an easy start as one of the first and only females in racing—she had to steal her racing number to compete in her first race. But her fearless driving style soon won her the respect of every car she raced. Nash took on the Fabulous Hudson Hornet in the early days of the Piston Cup, winning three back-to-back races.
NASCAR’s Louise Smith inspired the character. Refusing to just watch her first NASCAR race, Smith entered it—but ultimately rolled her family’s new Ford coupe. She went on to win 38 races during her seven-year career.
The character is voiced by Margo Martindale.
RIVER SCOTT came from modest beginnings, but his hard drive and never-quit attitude made him a trailblazer in the Piston Cup—racking up seven circuit wins in the early ’50s. Scrappy and improvisational, Scott wore his dents proudly.
The character was inspired by NASCAR’s Wendell Scott. In 1963, Scott became the first African-American driver to win the Grand National Series at Jacksonville’s Speedway Park. Scott was posthumously inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2015.
Isiah Whitlock Jr. was called on to voice the character.
VOICES OF NASCAR
Filmmakers recruited NASCAR greats—from rookie drivers and legends to the voices behind the sport—to inspire and help bring the film’s characters to life. “We all love a good story,” says Warren. “We were so lucky to get to hear their stories, get a taste of what happens behind the scenes of racing. That connection really comes through in the way many of our characters interact.”
Chase Elliott provides the voice of CHASE RACELOTT, Ryan Blaney voices RYAN “INSIDE” LANEY, Daniel Suárez lends his voice to DANNY SWERVEZ, and Bubba Wallace voices BUBBA WHEELHOUSE. Jeff Gordon is the voice of JEFF GORVETTE, Richard Petty once again voices STRIP “THE KING” WEATHERS, Kyle Petty steps in as the voice of CAL WEATHERS, and Ray Evernham lends his voice to RAY REVERHAM. FOX’s Darrell Waltrip returns as the voice of DARRELL CARTRIP, the network’s Shannon Spake provides the voice of SHANNON SPOKES, Humpy Wheeler returns as the voice of TEX DINOCO, and FOX Sports’ Mike Joy provides the voice of MIKE JOYRIDE.
A fully loaded, built-in voice command assistant, HAMILTON is just one of the many tools in Cruz Ramirez’s training arsenal. When Lightning McQueen takes his training off road, Cruz enlists Hamilton’s help to keep the struggling racer on track. Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton was called on to return to the “Cars” world and voice the character.
“Cars 3” also welcomes back Lightning McQueen’s gang of friends from Radiator Springs, including Lightning’s best buddy MATER (voice of Dan Whitney/Larry the Cable Guy), and #95’s No. 1 fan SALLY (voice of Bonnie Hunt). Friends supporting their hometown hero include FILLMORE (voice of Lloyd Sherr), SARGE (voice of Paul Dooley), LIZZIE (voice of Katherine Helmond), RAMON (voice of Cheech Marin), SHERIFF (voice of Michael Wallis) and FLO (voice of Jenifer Lewis).
Loyal transporter MACK (voice of John Ratzenberger), big-hearted Italian Fiat 500 LUIGI (voice of Tony Shalhoub) and charming little Italian forklift GUIDO (voice of Guido Quaroni) continue to support Lightning McQueen’s racing endeavors. World-renowned sports announcer BOB CUTLASS (voice of Bob Costas) is still calling the races, and CHICK HICKS (voice of Bob Peterson) is back—this time as a commentator on the Racing Sports Network. The lovable duo DUSTY (voice of Ray Magliozzi) and RUSTY (voice of the late Tom Magliozzi) return as Rust-eze’s chief proprietors—though they have big things in store for Lightning McQueen.
In case you missed any of our other Cars 3 posts check them out here.