Cars 3: Will McQueen Stay Champion?

While in San Fransisco for the Cars 3 Event, we got to hear from Producer Kevin Reher, Director Brian Fee, and co-producer Andrea Warren. I loved hearing how their love of these iconic Radiator Springs characters took a new life with new characters and an even more intriguing story line. When we last saw McQueen, he was racing in the World Grand Prix while Mater was unknowingly causing havoc as a spy. But Lightening was on the top of the world, he was racing with the best of the cars and beating them. Cars 3 opens with the McQueen wrecking (Not a spoiler since its the trailer!) but next comes a new life for McQueen as he trains and tries to get back to the top of his game. Will McQueen stay champion?

To make Cars 3 the most amazing movie with a new story line there had to be a compelling story and Producer Kevin Reher says it best “He’s struggling with the kind of issues a lot of athletes face later in their careers. Do you go out on top or fight till the end?” This is something that not only athletes face but many of us in our day to day life. Do we struggle with a job that’s not quite the best place for us or do we find a new life? Do we parent our children the way we were raised or do we make things different?

Producer Kevin Reher is photographed on January 21, 2016 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

One of the most important things was trying to figure out from the bits of the movie we did see if McQueen will stay champion. Creators wanted the movie to not only look real but also feel real and to do that they talked with the top people in the NASCAR field. They worked with Ray Evernham, former crew chief for Jeff Gordon, to learn more about the cars themselves, the history of NASCAR and how this special  league of athletes work. As a racers mom, I think the one thing that Brian Fee, director, said that resonated with me was this:

“They start at such an early age and their lives are centered around driving. We even talked to a sports psychologist who explained that many of these drivers don’t know anything else. They can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Brian Fee is photographed on January 21, 2016 at Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

This is Charlie to a T. We race every weekend and we do it happily because it is our child’s heart. This is his whole life. Even when home and just playing, Charlie will grab his cars and make his own NASCAR series of races. Its life for us. It’s all Charlie thinks about doing and we’ve watched some of our favorites now retire with Jeff Gordon two years ago, Tony Stewart last year and unfortunately Dale Earnhardt Junior this year.

Research is key for the creators and they talked about also talking with Jeff Gordon about how a driver changes over time. They go from young drivers who just want to go fast and hard but as they age they change their driving style.

“They get to know the game well enough that they can play it in a different way.” co-producer Andrea Warren

The creators even talked with newer drivers to be able to really create the rookies in Cars 3. In case you haven’t seen the NASCAR voices that will be included: 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.

So will McQueen Stay Champion? SHHH I can’t tell you that! Go see Cars 3 in theaters June 16th!


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