The Penndulum

The Student News Site of Pennridge High School

Breaking News
  • June 6Check out our final articles of the 23-24 school year! Have a great summer! See you in September!

The Penndulum

The Penndulum

From Radiator Springs to Daytona:

Lightning McQueen Racing Francesco Bernoulli
Disney Wiki
Lightning McQueen Racing Francesco Bernoulli

NASCAR is a popular sport that involves racing stock cars around tracks all over the country. Disney decided to make a movie around the sport of NASCAR named Cars. It has a 75% Rotten Tomatoes score and a 4.7 out of 5 rating. It features the main character, Lightning McQueen, who drives the No. 95 car in the NASCAR-like movie. The real question is, how realistic is the movie compared to the sport of NASCAR?

So, how does NASCAR work? Each race is composed of about 40 drivers, Who race every Sunday at a different track around the country. There are 26 races in the regular season before playoffs start. The top 16 drivers after the regular season make the playoffs. There are four races in the round of 16, followed by another three in the round of 12, then they move to another three in the round of eight, and finally, one race for the final four, the championship held at Phoenix Raceway. A win in the regular season automatically qualifies you for the playoffs. So, how do races work? Each race has three stages; you can earn points in all three stages, and the winner is determined by who is leading when the race ends. There are also three different manufacturers in NASCAR: Ford, Chevrolet, and Toyota. None of these are shown in the Cars movie, most likely due to copyright.

One of the most iconic scenes in Cars is when Chick Hicks, a green 1997 Shyster Kremlin, slams into Lightning McQueen, causing him to spin and go onto the grass. Then Lightning McQueen does something unexpected: he starts drifting on the dirt just like Doc Hudson, his mentor, and previous Piston Cup winner, taught him. Although this scene looks very interesting, it is super unrealistic and illegal. First and foremost, you can’t bump into somebody during a race because the cars are going at such high speeds that a crash can occur. Secondly, when McQueen started drifting he went over the yellow line, which also isn’t allowed. Even though this may go down as one of the most memorable scenes from cars, it could never actually happen.

Another memorable scene in Cars was during the same race as before, the Piston Cup Championship. It’s the last lap of the race, and Chick Hicks is in last, so he bumps into The King’s bumper, causing him to spin out and flip over multiple times. This ensures that The King won’t finish this or any other race. McQueen is about to win the race when he notices The King, all smokey and dented on the big screen. He slams on his breaks, and Chick Hicks wins. McQueen reverses backward to The King and tells him that he thinks The King should finish his last race. Lightning McQueen then pushes The King over the finish line, meaning that Lightning McQueen got last place. This may seem very unrealistic, but there was a similar situation in real life! In 2018, Jimmie Johnson pushed his teammate Chase Eliott when he ran out of fuel during a cool-down lap. This moment pulled a lot of heartstrings as it went to show that even in real life, people have good sportsmanship and kindness.

There are so many racing scenes in cars that it’d be impossible to analyze how realistic they are, but we’d like to highlight a few more things about Cars versus NASCAR racing. In Cars 3, Jackson Storm, a front-runner in the new generation of racing, is seen racing in a simulation. Real NASCAR racers also practice racing in simulations because it allows them to practice things without risking getting hurt! In another scene of cars, McQueen starts racing backward, and although this may be legal, it’s not recommended because you would be passed by many cars immediately. Finally, during one race, McQueen drives on the wall to pass another racer, and this is completely unrealistic because cars can’t drive on walls. Although cars may have some unrealistic things in their movies, they tried to make it as realistic as possible. They even used real NASCAR racing sounds for individual cars to make it more authentic! Cars is a timeless movie that gearheads love and helped create. Although some parts are fantastical, they add charm to the movies that make them a Disney favorite.


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Tyler VanDerMark, Student Writer
Tyler VanDerMark, Grade 12. Interests/hobbies include flying planes, traveling, lacrosse, and watching NASCAR. Tyler will be attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study Aeronautical Science and pursue a career in commercial aviation.
Izabela Baldovin, Student Writer
Izabela Baldovin, Grade 12. Hobbies/Interests include soccer, NHS, skiing, and the beach. Izabela will attend Arcadia University to study actuarial science.

Comments (0)

Any comment containing hate speech, terroristic threats, or vulgar language will be deleted from this post. Please comment appropriately.
All The Penndulum Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *