Stroker Ace is one of those movies that was an absolute flop by Hollywood standards, but has since developed a cult following, particularly with NASCAR fans. Starring Burt Reynolds as fictional NASCAR driver Stroker Ace, the 1983 comedy featured several classic cameos from actual stock car racing legends.
In one especially epic scene, Dale Earnhardt Sr., Kyle Petty, and Ricky Rudd engage in a little bit of table-racing tomfoolery along with Stroker’s rival Aubrey James (played by Parker Stevenson). At one point, Dale Sr. — The Intimidator himself — actually gets a line of dialogue in the form of a well-placed zinger. “You never could drive anyway, James. It’s always the equipment.” What a burn!
As the cherry on top of the brief but awesome scene, Stroker comes in at the end to give his rival a little push in the wrong direction. Talk about making a splash!
Based on the 1973 novel Stand On It by William Neely and Robert K. Ottum, Stroker Ace co-stars Ned Beatty, Jim Nabors, Loni Anderson, and Bubba Smith. Filmed in North Carolina and Georgia at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Talladega Superspeedway, and the Atlanta Motor Speedway, the movie also featured cameos from such race car drivers as Harry Gant, Cale Yarborough, Neil Bonnett, Terry Labonte, Benny Parsons, Tim Richmond.
Interesting enough, they’re all listed as simply “NASCAR drivers” in the film’s credits. Even Richard Petty was featured in an uncredited role as himself.
For all you fans of Southern rock and country music out there, The Charlie Daniels Band were the musicians behind the Stroker Ace theme song, simply called “Stroker’s Theme.”
It’s no “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” but it’s still pretty damn catchy. In fact, it may be one of the best parts of the entire movie. Sorry, Burt!
This post was originally published on May 6, 2020.