Which NASCAR Drivers Have Featured in the Cars Movie Franchise?

Published 12/23/2021, 10:23 AM EST


If there was one thing that the Cars franchise did for motorsport, it was introducing children to NASCAR. The basic premise of the three-movie series follows the journey of Lightning McQueen and documents his development from a fresh-faced rookie hurtling into stardom to a seasoned veteran who preserves his legacy.

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Of course, since the entire franchise has a NASCAR theme, there had to be a number of NASCAR celebrities. One of the most prominent names associated with the movie is the legendary Richard Petty. The 7-time Cup Series champion had a major role in the movie as one of Lightning McQueen’s two big rivals.

Petty played a character called Strip Weathers. Coincidentally, Weathers also bears the famous nickname ‘The King’. In addition to that, his car was fashioned after the 1970 Plymouth Superbird with Petty’s iconic #43. Other members of NASCAR royalty include Darrell Waltrip, who played Darrell Cartrip, Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Mario Andretti.

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Which NASCAR drivers featured in the Cars sequels?

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The second movie decided to have a more international setting. Waltrip reprised his role, and NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon also joined him, playing the role of Jeff Gorvette. The 4-time Cup Series champion featured in a scene that also included F1 star Lewis Hamilton. Finally, Cars 3 decided to go back to its NASCAR roots and give Lightning McQueen his well-deserved swansong.

This time, there were a lot more NASCAR driver appearances in the final movie. However, they were mostly seen in small cameos. Waltrip and Gordon reprised their roles as Cartrip and Gorvette respectively, as does Richard Petty as Strip Weathers. Petty’s son Kyle Petty also made an appearance as Cal Weathers. Meanwhile, Hendrick Motorsports driver Chase Elliott played the role of Chase Racelott. Bubba Wallace played the role of Bubba Wheelhouse. Daniel Suarez played the character Danny Swervez, and Ryan Blaney played the role of Ryan ‘Inside’ Laney.

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Which other drivers would you like to see in a movie about racing?

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Dhruv George

12535 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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