March 16 was International Sports Car Racing Day and honored the sport of auto racing. A sport since its inception in 1887, auto racing remains one of the most popular sports in the world, whether it is formula racing, touring car racing, or NASCAR, the sport seems to grow in popularity more and more with each passing year. With a day to recognize the sport, here are some great auto racing movies in honor of sports car racing.
“Days of Thunder”
The late Tony Scott teamed up with Tom Cruise in 1990 for an exciting high concept look at auto racing in “Days of Thunder.” The movie starred Cruise as a young racer named Cole Trickle who is recruited by a NASCAR team owner (Randy Quaid). With a car builder portrayed by Robert Duvall, they set out to beat the arrogant reigning Winston Cup Champion (Michael Rooker), and soon find a new young racer (Cary Elwes) gunning for them.
The movie is an exciting look at auto racing, with the cameras in the heat of the action the entire race. It also featured cameos by NASCAR stars Richard Petty, Rusty Wallace and Harry Gant.
“Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”
While “Days of Thunder” is a serious, yet thrill based, look at NASCAR auto racing, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” takes the entire sport and creates a very funny comedy around the situation. Will Ferrell stars as Ricky Bobby, an arrogant NASCAR driver who is used to winning and carries himself on a pedestal until he meets a French Formula One race car driver (Sacha Baron Cohen) who is extremely flamboyant and in love with himself.
The entire movie is a hilarious comedy, specifically when it involves Ricky’s family and his relationship with his best friend (John C. Reilly), but it also remains a solid race car movie. Making cameos in the movie are NASCAR stars such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Jamie McMurray.
While the “Cars” movies are considered by some critics to be lesser Pixar films, they are nowhere near as bad as some might have you believe. A lot of the people who dislike the movies also dislike NASCAR, but for those who love auto racing, they hold a lot to love. The first movie, based more about a fish out of water story, was decent, but “Cars 2” really turned up the heat and was a great little animated movie. Instead of just focusing on the racing, in this case the World Grand Prix, it also added a spy espionage thriller to it, paying homage to two different genres. Don’t believe the hype, “Cars 2” is a really fun auto racing movie.