It’s the last stand for the old guard, as Lightning McQueen takes on recovery from a major wreck on the track and new, more modern competitor. Of course, in true Cars fashion, McQueen does the majority of his training and recovery away from the main track, and in Cars 3 McQueen calls attention to an increasingly common landmark across America during his preparation phase, the ghost track.
Ghost tracks are the circuits of yesterday, overgrown with sylvan plants, forgotten, and host to cracked pavement galore. To prepare for the scenes on the ghost track in the upcoming Cars movie, the creators visited two abandoned tracks in North Carolina: North Wilkesboro and the Occoneechee Speedway.
Director Brian Fee described his visit to North Wilkesboro in an interview with Autoweek:
“It’s haunting to walk out onto the track and look at the ‘North Wilkesboro’ signs that still had ‘Winston Cup’ graphics; the paint’s peeling, you hear nothing but the wind blowing through the fence, which is falling down, and the leader-board advertisement, which is just ‘Winston Cup,’ was just turning, ‘Squeak, squeak.’ It reminded me of the Colosseum. You’re looking around and you’re thinking, ‘This is dead right now, but it was once packed to the gills and loud and events happened here. It would give you (goose bumps) on your arms.”
Hopefully this new, darker theme carries forward and plays a large roll in the new Cars installment.