I received an all expense paid trip from Disney to attend the #Cars3Event. The opinions expressed here are my own.  No monetary compensation was received. #ABCTVEvent #PuppyDogPalsEvent #TheToyBox #BornInChina


In March, Disney invited me to San Francisco, specifically for the Cars 3 press trip. On our trip, we spent the day at Sonoma Raceway, getting a history of racing, changing a tire or two, going for a lap around the track and interviewing the producers of Cars 3.

Cars 3 Event

Our day started with the history of racing, which was very interesting.  Since my family attends NASCAR races in Dallas each year, it was great to hear from Jay Ward (Cars 3 Creative Director) and Ray Evernham (Former Crew Chief for Hendrick Motorsports and three time NASCAR champion crew chief with Jeff Gordon).  We learned how racing legends played an important part in inspiring many of the Cars 3 characters.  I was highly impressed with the level of research put into making this film.  The attention to detail, thought process and creativity are exactly what Pixar is all about.  

Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar

But before I introduce a few Cars 3 characters, let me tell you a little about NASCAR. Do you know that NASCAR stood for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing? We were told this acronym was given by Bill Franz Sr. when he gathered a group of guys and started a legitimate league.

Jay and Ray then went on to describe where NASCAR began:

“NASCAR started in what we cal the “Moonshine Days” when these guys used to run the product. Moonshiners would make their product and they’d need to get it to the towns and cities. The easiest way to transport that stuff was by using guys who were called bootleggers, who would take stock-appearing cars and modify them. They were great at driving them at night through winding roads. These guys began racing against each other on the backroads until they realized that they could outrun the cops and were faster than another racer. They started to take their cars instead of being on the road where nobody could see them and brought them to the field so your buddy could see you beat another guy. There became a strong rivalry between the Dawsonville, GA Moonshiners and the North Carolina Wilkes Borough area Moonshiners!”

Jay then told us that by the early 1950s, car manufacturers started to wonder why the guys were running old cars. The concept was to race one of the new cars on Sunday and then sell on Monday so people could see how fast their cars were!  Sounds like a good plan to me!

©2017 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Cars 3 character Junior “Midnight” Moon is inspired by former moonshiner and NASCAR driver, Junior Johnson.  Junior’s father was a Moonshiner and Junior became a bootlegger, who was arrested, went to prison and then came out and went on the straight and narrow to become a stock car racer and champion driver before he transferred over to being a mechanic, became a champion crew chief and car owner. After climbing the corporate ladder, he ended up bringing the first major sponsor to NASCAR. 

Cars 3 character River Scott is inspired by Wendell Scott, the first African-American driver in NASCAR and the first African-American to win a race in the Grand National Series. As Pixar was conducting research for Cars 3, they discovered that drivers often listed their mechanic’s name on the back of their cars. With that said, make sure you keep an eye on the back of River Scott’s car in the film! 

Cars 3 character Louise “Barnstormer” Nash was inspired by Louise Smith, deemed the first lady of racing. She went to her first NASCAR race in 1949 as a spectator, but ended up entering her family’s new Ford coupe in the race, then went on to win 
38 races across 4 divisions.  (Pretty sweet, right?)

Photo by Marc Flores


We visited the race track garage then took our hand at changing a tire.  

Cars 3 Event

I teamed up with Debra from Finding Debra, and we changed a tire in less than 43 seconds, coming in 2nd on the scoreboard!  I’m sure we’re not as fast as the pros, but that was super fast to me!

Cars 3 Event


Of course we couldn’t visit Sonoma Raceway and not get in a car to take a few laps around the racetrack!


Our driver, Dave, was amazing and told us we were going to ride around the track “Lightning McQueen Style,” just as he took out curbs, curves and the other drivers!  Dave later told us we topped the speedometer at 100 mph, which made the ride even more exciting!


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