Cars 3: The Next Generation Returns to Racing
We all loved the first "Cars" movie as we followed along with Lighting McQueen's pursuit of the Piston Cup ("You did what in the cup?"); and we all cringed as we watched Mater become an international spy in "Cars 2." The franchise's third installment may give fans a new reason to rejoice as "Cars 3" returns to pure racing, bringing a new generation, too.
The past teasers and official trailer, which aired this past weekend, introduces a new foe: Jackson Storm, voiced by Armie Hammer. It's now Lighting vs. Storm, pitting internal combustion vs. electricity — a situation not unlike what's happening in the real-life racing world of NASCAR.
As fitting as a torqued lug nut, NASCAR and Cars held a press conference to officially let the world about their new partnership (as if Disney needed to control more of the world of entertainment). Owen Wilson, the voice of Lighting McQueen, will lend his voice as the Grand Marshal for the DAYTONA 500, while "Cars 3" will feature four of NASCAR's young drivers.
The Cars franchise has featured NASCAR's top racing figures, past and present, as animated alter egos of themselves with punny names, but this is the first time they will use drivers that are not household names. Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Daniel Suarez and Bubba Wallace will voice the characters Ryan Insidelaney, Chase Racelott, Danny Swervez and Bubba Wheelhouse, respectively. The next generation is coming, and it's not just in the movie.
Disney and Pixar already has a commanding lead with families and kids, but this is their chance to lap the competition by attracting NASCAR's diehard fans. NASCAR, on the other hand, has been one of America's greatest motorsports, but their fanbase has clearly been in their own lane for years.
In addition to the movie collaborations, special "Cars 3" and NASCAR merchandise will be available at all of the races this season, as well as the inclusion of a "Cars 3" section in the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. NASCAR hopes to attract a younger audience while Disney and Pixar hope to add even more racing credibility to the franchise. It's the ultimate "you wipe my windshield, I wipe yours" deal for the two parties.