[[caption-width-right:294:It's like ''Film/TopGun'', but [[RecycledInSpace ON WHEELS!!!]]]]

A 1990 action drama starring Creator/TomCruise as Cole Trickle, a race car driver who enters the world of UsefulNotes/{{NASCAR}}. His attitude gets him into trouble with not only other drivers, but his own team as well. Directed by Creator/TonyScott, the film co-stars Robert Duvall, Randy Quaid, Creator/CaryElwes, and Cruise's future ex-wife, Creator/NicoleKidman.

!!These tropes seen in this film include:
* ArcWords: Harry's "I'll RACE your ass!"
* ArtisticLicenseSports: Despite the official cooperation of NASCAR and several race teams,[[note]]primarily Hendrick Motorsports,[[/note]] the movie still has some howling inaccuracies. As Richard Petty once said, there are only two things the movie has in common with real NASCAR: "The cars have numbers on them, and they go fast. That's about it." Here are some of the more egregious things that any NASCAR fan or driver will point out:
** A Monster Energy Cup team needs more than one car. This is not just a question of repairing damage and having a backup car ready, but of suitability. In the Monster Energy Cup Series, a team builds numerous cars for each team: restrictor plate cars for Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway, cars exclusively for the road course races at Watkins Glen, Sonoma as well as the Pocono races,[[note]]Pocono is technically an oval track, but its long straightaways and three corners of different design make it behave like a road course[[/note]] cars specifically built for the short track races at venues like Bristol and Martinsville, cars specifically built for the non-plate superspeedways, and cars built for the intermediate length tracks.
** Or that even Trickle couldn't pass everybody else in the race in the last three laps at Daytona. Unless he's an [[RubberBandAI AI driver]] who has superhuman abilities that even Dale Earnhardt was incapable of making.[[note]]As a reference, Dale Earnhardt's final victory, 2000 Winston 500, has Earnhardt climbed from 18th to 1st in the last five laps.[[/note]] During the Darlington race earlier in the movie, the driver would have lost a lot more than just two positions with the extra time he spent on pit road under green, due to the egg-shaped configuration.
** A driver would probably be banned from NASCAR (and probably all motorsports) for life if he went out and rammed the winner from behind during his victory lap.
** On many occasions, Cole seems to be missing the mandatory yellow rookie stripe from his rear bumper.
** After the caution in the final race when Cole beats the pace car out of pit road, the race restarts with Wheeler, the leader, starting on the inside line. Wheeler's car should have been on the outside line, since, prior to June 2009, double-file restarts in the Monster Energy Cup Series only happened in the non-point events and on the initial start in points races. Prior to June 2009, lead-lap cars restarted on the outside line and lap down cars restarted on the inside line.
* AwardBaitSong: [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gW1HYCdP-ZU The Last Note Of Freedom]] by {{Music/Whitesnake}}'s David Coverdale and [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eo_s0iEA41o Show Me Heaven]] by Maria Mckee.
* BadassDriver: Goes with the territory.
* CarPorn: As befitting a movie about NASCAR.
* {{Defictionalisation}}: There are several of those.
** Kyle Busch being nicknamed 'Rowdy' Busch as a nod to the movie. The name has stuck.
** Kyle's Truck team has used the #51 in one of his teams as a reference for this movie, with almost the same font type as Days of Thunder's #51 too.
** Bobby Hamilton actually made his NASCAR Monster Energy Cup debut as a result of the movie. He was hired to drive the Rowdy Burns racecar, even qualifying the non-competitive car in fifth and actually briefly leading the race before he retired with an engine failure at Phoenix in 1989.
** Cole Trickle's Mello Yello scheme would later be used by Kyle Petty during the 1991-1994 season, and by Kyle Larson for an one-off throwback at the 2015 Southern 500. For Kyle Petty, that scheme is considered his most successful one, with his only realistic chance of a Monster Energy Cup title happened in 1992. Coincidentally, both Petty and Larson drove for the exact same team (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates) and the exact same number (42) while driving this scheme.[[note]]Petty raced this scheme with SABCO Racing (pre-Ganassi buyout of the team); while Larson raced this scheme with the present-day Ganassi-Sabates.[[/note]]
** [[http://www.roadandtrack.com/motorsports/g3874/slideshow-kurt-busch-nascar-nationwide-city-chevrolet-days-of-thunder-camaro/ Kurt Busch drove the City Chevrolet scheme at the summer Daytona Nationwide race in 2013. He finished 4th in that race.]]
* FairCop: Subverted in that [[spoiler: she wasn't really a cop]]
* HonestCorporateExecutive: Big John, high-ranking NASCAR official basically implied to be the head of the organization (and expy of Big Bill France), who takes a SeriousBusiness view towards Cole's and Rowdy's unpredictability and tells them to cut it out. The fact that he's played by Creator/FredThompson helps in making him come across as a ''Badass'' Corporate Executive.
* HospitalHottie: Nicole Kidman in a lab coat. Enough said.
* ImprobableAge: Nicole Kidman was only 23 when cast as a neurosurgeon. At that age, she would at most be only halfway through medical school.
* TheMentor: Harry to Cole.
* OddCouple: Young hotshot driver Cole and jaded veteran crew chief Harry.
* ProductPlacement: All over the place in terms of sponsorships. As the movie is about UsefulNotes/{{NASCAR}}, this could also be fairly construed as TruthInTelevision.
* RealityIsUnrealistic: "Cole Trickle" was derided by some critics as too much of a stereotype NASCAR sounding name. Except that the name is a ShoutOut to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dick_Trickle Dick Trickle.]]
* RivalsTeamUp: Cole and Rowdy, by the end.
* SocietyMarchesOn: One of the ways Cole shows Rowdy how sick he is following his head injury is illustrating Rowdy's failure to name what should be a quite obvious racing trophy he'd won: the Winston Cup, awarded for winning the final standing championship in NASCAR's highest-level series. In real life, because of the decline in the acceptance of smoking, the championship is now sponsored by energy drink company Monster Energy (previously communications company Nextel, and then Sprint once Sprint merged operations with Nextel).
* SpiritualSuccessor: Creator/TomCruise controls (pilots) an [[Film/TopGun extremely fast piece of machinery]], deals with a [[HeroicBSOD crisis]] about 2/3's of the way in following a traumatic accident involving a friend, only to come out of it at the end and win the heart of his [[UptownGirl higher-class love interest.]] All with a power ballad soundtrack.
* ThisIsGonnaSuck: In one race, Cole is pulling in for a pit stop, when another car pulls out in front of him. Swerving to miss the other car causes Cole to skid out of control such that he's heading for the pit's wall at (by pit-stop standards) a high speed, to which Cole remarks "Uh-oh, this is gonna hurt."
* {{Understatement}}: "You boys are late."-Big John [[BlatantLies "We, uh, had, car trouble."]]-Rowdy
* VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory: Cole Trickle was based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tim_Richmond Tim Richmond]] and crew chief Harry Hogge on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_Hyde Harry Hyde.]] Richmond being a former UsefulNotes/IndyCar driver and an upstart outsider who started winning when paired with a gruff veteran engineer.