Pixar has a history of featuring real racing drivers in its “Cars” movies — former NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton each had cameos in “Cars 2” — and it seems like that trend will continue with the franchise’s next installment.
During a press conference Thursday at Daytona International Speedway, NASCAR announced four of its young stars will record voice-overs for the forthcoming “Cars 3.”
Hendrick Motorsports’ Chase Elliott, Wood Brothers Racing’s Ryan Blaney and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Daniel Suarez from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and Roush Fenway Racing Xfinity Series driver Bubba Wallace will all appear in the upcoming animated film.
Whereas some might find it odd not to include Jimmie Johnson for one of the roles, given he just won his record-tying seventh Cup championship, it makes sense considering the demographic Disney is looking to appeal to.
Although Johnson is one of the sport’s most-successful drivers to date, he also is now one of its elder statesmen. NASCAR wants its involvement in the movie to build a younger fan base, and the best way to do that is by using drivers who represent the future of stock car racing.
Even heading into just his second season, Elliott is one of the most popular drivers in Cup. Suarez is a highly anticipated young talent, as well as the first Mexican driver to race in Cup. Wallace might not yet be in the spotlight, but even at the Xfinity level he’s made a name for himself.
Most importantly, all four drivers are extremely active on social media, which essentially is a requirement for any modern athlete who wants to be seen as marketable.