The King is voiced by Richard Petty, and is also modelled and painted after Petty's 1970 Plymouth Superbird. He is described as having won seven Piston Cups - which is also the number of Winston Cup Championships that Petty won in his racing career (he is also the only seven time winner of the Daytona 500). And his wreck at the end of the film appears to be nod back to Petty's wreck in the 1988 Daytona 500.
In the US version, Jeremy Piven is the voice of McQueen's agent Harv. Piven is known for his role as Hollywood superagent Ari Gold on the HBO series Entourage. Meanwhile, the UK version uses Jeremy Clarkson, known for his part in the BBC series Top Gear.
Don't forget Mater's "I don't care who you are, that's funny right there", and "Git-r-done!", both of which are Larry The Cable Guy's Catchphrases. It's so much that Mater's Voice is actually credited as "Larry the Cable Guy", not "Daniel Whitney".
A variant of this: Chick Hicks goes to victory lane after he intentionally crashes the King on the last lap of the final race (which would lead to him being black-flagged in real life) and is pelted with old tires and booed off stage.
It's similar to backlash that was made against Rusty Wallace after he spun out Darrell Waltrip on the last lap of the May 21, 1989 NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway and sent Waltrip into the grass. As Wallace claimed the victory and the $200,000 prize, fans booed, gestured rudely and pelted the track with beer cans, while a dispute on pit road quickly escalated into a twenty-five person fistfight, to which Waltrip said, "I hope he chokes on the $200,000, that's all I can tell him. He knocked the hell out of me. I guess I made a big mistake by letting him get up there too close to me in the first place." Two of the people associated with that All-Star Race are in this film: Darrell Waltrip (as Darrell Cartrip), and the speedway's operator, Humpy Wheeler (who voices Tex, Dinoco's owner).
Junior, voiced by NASCAR star Dale Earnhardt, Jr., is based on the Chevrolet Monte Carlo that the real-life Earnhardt drove in the Cup Series from 1999 to 2006.
Mario Andretti, voiced by the racing legend of the same name, is based on the 1967 Ford Fairlane that the real-life Andretti drove to victory in the 1967 Daytona 500.
Michael Schumacher, voiced by the multiple Formula One champion himself, is a Ferrari F430. The real-life Schumacher won five of his seven F1 drivers' titles with the Ferrari team.
Strip "The King" Weathers, voiced by NASCAR legend Richard Petty, shares many characteristics with his voice actor. (1) Weathers is portrayed as a 1970 Plymouth Superbird, the car that Petty drove at that time. (2) He is painted in Petty's distinctive shade of blue and bears the number 43 that Petty drove for his entire NASCAR career. (3) Weathers won seven Piston Cup titles; the real-life Petty won the same number of Cup Series titles. (4) Weathers' crash at the end of the tiebreaker race is very similar to one in which Petty was involved during the 1988 Daytona 500. However, artistic license was taken—the real-life crash involved six cars in all, and was not deliberately caused.
The King's wife Lynda, voiced by Richard Petty's real-life wife Lynda, is based on the 1974 Chrysler station wagon that she drove to Richard's races in the 1970s.
Crabby the Boat, voiced by Sig Hansen of Deadliest Catch fame, is based on Hansen's boat, the F/V Northwestern.
Jeff Gorvette, voiced by NASCAR star Jeff Gordon, moved from Vallejo, California to Indiana to be closer to the racing world—a move that the real-life Gordon's family made when he was in his teens.
Lewis Hamilton, also voiced by the F1 champion of the same name, is described as British and Grenadian. The real-life Hamilton shares that heritage; his father is the son of Grenadian immigrants to England, while his mother is white British.
The Car Died With Him: Doc Hudson, due to Paul Newman's death. Averted with Fillmore: his voice was recast after George Carlin's death.
Doing It for the Art: Pretty much the movies in a nutshell. A good majority of the staff like cars. So why not make a movie around them with the usual Pixar charm.
The King's crash is based, frame by frame, on an actual crash Richard Petty lived through in the Daytona 500. Though the real crash involved Petty and at least six other cars.
Doc Hudson is largely based on 2-time NASCAR champion Herb Thomas, who, in fact, won his two titles in a Hudson Hornet. There are minor differences between the two, namely their ultimate fates, Doc Hudson is Thomas in car form.
The Motor Speedway of the South is loosely modeled off of Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina, where the movie was premiered, and bits are based on "Thunder Valley" - Bristol Motor Speedway. The California speedway where the finale happens does not exist, but it is possibly a substitute for Fontana's Auto Club Speedway.
Too Soon: This movie was released to Pay Per View and DVD just weeks after a massive crash at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway killed driver Dan Wheldon, making the pileup in the Italy race a little uncomfortable.