Post-Michigan Podcast with Portland-area NASCAR fans

For this week’s post-race podcast, I was joined by several of the race fans who watched the Michigan race with me at a local sports bar near my new home in Oregon. The fans gave their impressions of the Michigan race and also gave their picks for the championship favorite at this point of the season.

Movie Review: Cars 3

Cindy The Intern is an 18-year-old college student in Southern California who has been helping out with for the past couple months. She went to one of the first showings of Cars 3 and filed this review.

By Cindy The Intern

I was so excited for Cars 3, I couldn’t wait until opening day to go see it in theaters. So I bought a ticket for the 7 p.m. showing on Thursday night — and the $15 was so worth it.

As a NASCAR fan and kid at heart, Cars 3 was simply spectacular. I would highly recommend bringing your entire family to the theater to enjoy this masterpiece — particularly if you love racing.

For those unfamiliar with the Cars series, the first movie in 2006 introduced us to Lightning McQueen, an egotistical rookie racer who found himself in the small town of Radiator Springs after falling out of his hauler. In Radiator Springs, he met his future best friend Mater the tow truck, his girlfriend Sally and the Fabulous Hudson Hornet, who became his mentor.

The sequel, Cars 2, focused on Mater’s spy mission of protecting Lightning and some other racers from an evil fuel company as they competed around the world to see who was the best racer (think Formula 1, NASCAR and IndyCar drivers in the same race). Cars 2 was disliked by a lot of fans due to a confusing plot and its marketing ploy to sell more Mater toys.

Cars 3 takes place about 10 years after the first movie. Lightning and his buddies are getting beaten by newer, faster cars that are coming to the racing scene. After Lightning gets into an accident (that’s not a spoiler if you’ve seen the trailer), he has one more chance to prove himself as a winner — or else face retirement. To attempt his comeback, Lightning enlists the help of a trainer, Cruz Ramirez, in order to beat his newer rival, Jackson Storm.

The tone of Cars 3 is similar to that of the original Cars movie, which is a change I’m sure many moviegoers will be happy about. Despite the seriousness, there are still many funny moments including Mater’s presence at the races and the training montages with Cruz . There are also some jokes that will fly over kids’ heads, so don’t worry about the humor being just for children.

But the best part for NASCAR fans is how much the movie is geared toward stock car racing. In the film, Lightning visits many tracks — from Daytona and Bristol to a dirt track to an abandoned raceway. Lightning even insists on training on the beach, a great throwback to the Daytona Beach races back in the day. Pixar did a marvelous job rendering these racetracks, and I’m not embarrassed to say I might have cried when some of these tracks were introduced.

In addition, the introduction of newer characters based on Junior Johnson, Wendell Scott, Smokey Yunick and Louise Smith is something a lot of race fans will appreciate and enjoy. Of course, the NASCAR on FOX team and some up-and-coming drivers (Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Daniel Suarez and Bubba Wallace) also had roles in the movie — and even though they had a single-digit number of lines, the advertising done between NASCAR and Cars 3 will hopefully draw new younger fans in.

Overall, Cars 3 is a great movie. I had the biggest smile on my face from the minute the movie was over until the time I got home, because I was so happy about how Pixar decided to complete Lightning’s story. I am not ashamed to tell you I will probably go see Cars 3 in the theater again.

You can follow Cindy The Intern on Twitter at @nascarmeli.