* Like every Pixar movie, it contains references to other Pixar films (both short and feature-length). Also plenty of references to {{NASCAR}}.
** The name [=McQueen=] itself is a reference to Glenn [=McQueen=], a senior animator on early Pixar films who died of cancer in 2002; Lightning is named as a tribute. The {{Pixar}} staff takes pains to point out that it wasn't, as is commonly thought, a reference to Steve [=McQueen=], he of the [[Film/{{Bullitt}} famous car chases]].
** Lightning himself uses [[WesternAnimation/ToyStory Lightyear Buzzard]] brand tires, and the Lightyear blimp can be seen at races. This one is a twofer: a hark back to Buzz Lightyear and a {{pun}} on Goodyear Eagle tires. Additionally, the Dinoco brand is the name of the gas station Woody and Buzz get stuck at, while also a pun on Sunoco, the current brand of race fuel used by NASCAR. And Lightning's number, #95, is a reference to the year ''Toy Story'' was released..
** Can't forget the Drive-In scene. I sure wonder how ''[[WesternAnimation/ToyStory Toy Car Story]]'', ''[[WesternAnimation/MonstersInc Monster Trucks, Inc.]]'' and ''WesternAnimation/ABugsLife'' were received by car critics.
** One of the Piston Cup racers, Mac iCar, is sponsored by AppleMacintosh. The late Apple CEO Steve Jobs was also one of the founders of {{Pixar}}. May also count as ProductPlacement.
** Near the end of the film, Luigi can be seen making fun of [[VideoGame/SuperMarioBros a clearly Italian-based car that is shorter and fatter than him. Whose grill apparently resembles a mustache.]]
* The King is not only voiced by Richard Petty, but is painted in the same blue shade that Petty's 1970 Plymouth Superbird was painted in.
** In fact, his crash during the climactic race is modeled after his notorious crash at the 1988 Daytona 500.
* Dale Earnhardt, Jr. voices [[InkSuitActor his own #8 Budweiser Chevrolet Monte Carlo]].

[[folder:Cars 2]]
* Some believe Mater [[TopGear racing around an]] [[Film/MagicalMysteryTour airport landing strip]] is one.
* A restaurant in Paris called [[WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}} GasTow's]].
* Raoul Çaroule, the French contestant, is SO Sebastien Loeb!
* Holly [[ReversePolarity reverses the polarity]] [[spoiler:[[Series/DoctorWho to turn back time]], though it's only Big Ben(tley)'s gears]].
* Finn [=McMissile=] pulls off [[Franchise/StarWars two familiar-looking tricks in the opening]] - [[Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack clinging to the side of a ship to avoid being noticed]], and [[Film/AttackOfTheClones dumping some spare parts to feign his own death]].
* While he and Lightning banter over who deserves a [[AChristmasStory major award]], Francesco emphasizes that he is ''not'' [[AChristmasStory fra-gee-lay]].
* An automotive version of TakeshisCastle appears on a television set when the cast arrives in Japan.
* Visually, the [[spoiler:DeathTrap inside of Big Bently, and the way that Finn, Holly, and Mater escape from it,]] is very similar to the climax of Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective - itself inspired by the clock tower chase in ''Anime/TheCastleOfCagliostro'', a movie often cited for its great spy action and excellent car chase sequence.
* Two flight attendants at Tokyo Airport are named [[MyNeighborTotoro Mei and Satsuki.]]
* Near the beginning, the marquee in front of the drive-in theater is advertising ''[[WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles The Incredimobiles]]''.