days of thunder Paramount Pictures/Getty Images
Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

Days of Thunder is certainly a must-see movie for any NASCAR fan. The sports/action/drama film features tons of big names, such as Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Cary Elwes, Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, and Michael Rooker. It also featured cameos from real-life NASCAR drivers, like Rusty Wallace and Neil Bonnett.

The movie follows the story of race car driver Cole Trickle and his quest to hit the big time, and if you’ve never seen the movie, you need to add it to your watch list. Not only does it show how intense the racing environment is, but it also shows the struggles and issues that arise in this industry. Not to mention the pressure that a driver gets put under in order to ride into victory lane.

While the film was somewhat criticized due to unrealistic events and unconvincing actors, there’s no denying that this movie has some serious stock car racing action included. It’s enough to keep you on the edge of your seat. The film is also chock-full of classic lines, so that’s why we’re going to check out some iconic Days of Thunder quotes below.

15 Classic Days of Thunder Quotes

Cole Trickle: Claire, I’m more afraid of bein’ nothing than I am of being hurt.

Harry Hogge: Cole, you’re wandering all over the track!
Cole Trickle: Yeah, well this son of a bitch just slammed into me.
Harry Hogge: No, no, he didn’t slam you, he didn’t bump you, he didn’t nudge you… he *rubbed* you. And rubbin, son, is racin’.

Harry Hogge: Well, if he wouldn’t get excited and over-rev the son of a bitch, the engine wouldn’t blow. Now, Cole, when you shift the gear and that little needle on the tach goes into the red and reads 9000 RPMs, that’s BAD.
Cole Trickle: It’s also my fault that the tires blow if you ask this old fart!
Harry Hogge: Well, hell yes, it’s your fault. There’s 40 other vultures out there who manage to finish the race on THEIR tires. You see Darrell Waltrip usin’ up HIS tires?
Cole Trickle: There’s nothin’ I can’t do with a race car.
Harry Hogge: Well, that’s the difference between you and me. There’s only so much I CAN do.
Cole Trickle: Well, that’s obvious!


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Harry Hogge: All right. While we’re still under a caution, I want you to go back out on that track and hit the pace car.
Cole Trickle: Hit the pace car?
Harry Hogge: Hit the pace car.
Cole Trickle: What for?
Harry Hogge: Because you’ve hit every other goddamned thing out there, I want you to be perfect

Tim Daland: If you’re from California, you’re not a Yankee. You’re not really anything.
Harry Hogge: You said it.

Harry Hogge: I’m gonna give you an engine low to the ground…extra thick oil pan to cut the wind from underneath you. It’ll give you thirty or forty more horsepower. I’m gonna give you a fuel line that’ll hold an extra gallon of gas. I’m gonna shave half an inch off you and shape you like a bullet. I’ll get you primed, painted and weighed, and you’ll be ready to go out on that racetrack. Hear me? You’re gonna be perfect.

Tim Daland: How’s the truck runnin’?
Harry Hogge: Runs good.
Tim Daland: [pause] I… uh… I want you to build me a car.
Harry Hogge: [stops tractor] Now, Tim, everyone knows some downtown car dealer can’t afford a race team. And, no driver worth a damn is gonna sign with you. Cause they wreck one car, you can’t afford to build them another, and they’re out of the deal, you know. And, no car’s gonna win without a driver, not even mine.


Dr. Claire Lewicki: Boy, you’re very quick.
Cole Trickle: You oughta see me drive.

Dr. Claire Lewicki: Control is an illusion, you infantile egomaniac. Nobody knows what’s gonna happen next: Not on a freeway, not in an airplane, not inside our own bodies, and certainly not on a race track with 40 other infantile egomaniacs.

Harry Hogge: I’m settin’ you up for cool weather… but if that sun breaks, after you’re out on the track, you’re liable to get real loose real quick. Now, I don’t wanna worry you or nothin, but, Cole’s not ready for that… he’s changed, see, he’s changed. You cannot get out of control and expect him to bring you right back. He’s liable to hurt you, you’re liable to hurt him, and… I couldn’t handle that, so, ah, you’ve gotta take care of him… see… you gotta take care of him.

Cole Trickle: What’d you win this one for?
[Points to a trophy]
Cole Trickle: This one right here, what’d win this for?
Rowdy Burns: Doesn’t it say?
Cole Trickle: Yeah, that’s a Winston Cup, buddy. Hell, that’s an easy one to forget. What’s your name, or has that slipped your mind too?
Rowdy Burns: Screw you, man.


Big John: If you two wanna turn yourselves into a greasy spot on a country road somewhere, go right ahead. I don’t give a shit, and I don’t think anybody else does, regardless what they say to your face. But, you two monkeys are not going to do it on my racetrack. Now y’all heard of a “Japanese Inspection?” Japanese Inspection, you see, when the Japs get in a load of lettuce they’re not sure they wanna let in the country, why they’ll just let it sit there on the dock ’til they get good and ready to look at. But then of course, it’s all gone rotten…ain’t nothing left to inspect.

You see, lettuce is a perishable item, like you two monkeys. You trade paint one more time, you so much as touch, I’m gonna black flag the two of you, and take apart your race cars for three-hundred laps. Then, if you pass inspection and you put your cars back together, I might let you back into the race. Now, just to show there’s no hard feelings, we’re all gonna go out to dinner together.


Harry Hogge: What kind of driver are you going to find after the season’s started? Some old boy who’s washed up, and wasn’t worth a shit to begin with.

Tim Daland: You said you’d look at him.
Harry Hogge: I’ve looked at him.
Tim Daland: I paid $2,500 to use this track today, Harry.
Cole Trickle: Forget it, he needs a brand name like Exxon or Richard Petty.
Harry Hogge: Well, I know a damn race driver when I see one.

Tim Daland: I had sponsors in from all over the coast and I’m hugging, and holdin’ hands, and praying for a good showin’. And, what do we do? We end up lookin’ like a monkey fucking a football out there. Everybody out, please.

This post was originally published on July 29, 2020.

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