With ‘Cars 3’ set to debut, NASCAR stars fondly recall filming process

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie Daniel Suarez breaks into a wide smile when talking about his work with the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars 3,” which debuts nationwide this weekend.

“I saw the movie already and it was a very good experience to be a part of this new project in my life,'” said Suarez, whose character in the movie is named Danny Swervez. “I don’t feel like it was hard to do, it was just new. Saying the same words and same expressions was different doing it so many times.”

MORE: Exclusive look at ‘Cars 3’ characters

Suarez joins fellow 20-somethings Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney and Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. with voice-over parts in the newest installment of the popular animated film. And, like Suarez, all the drivers say they loved the new experience – for all, a real “learning” experience.

“I’m excited about it,” Wallace said of the upcoming release. “I’ve got a couple lines in and I hope I sound right.”

He grinned, reminiscing about being a part of the actual production — something he and pal Blaney, the newest Monster Energy Series winner, did together.

“We went into the studio and at first, it was really awkward,” Wallace Jr. said. “I’ve had bad dates go way better, but we figured it out. I’m excited to see it.”

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NASCAR legend Richard Petty, NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2018 member Ray Evernham, four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon and three-time series champion Darrell Waltrip will also have key roles alongside Hollywood stars such as Owen Wilson, who plays “Lightning McQueen” and “Larry the Cable Guy,” who voices the character “Mater.”

Both actors have attended NASCAR races. Wilson was the Grand Marshal of this year’s Daytona 500.

While promoting the movie earlier this year, director Brian Fee, told “Oh My Disney” that Cars 3 “very much pays homage to stock car racing and its rich history. Our story leans into the drama, emotion and excitement NASCAR fans find at every race.”

Judging by the early personal reviews, it appears the NASCAR talent had as much fun making the movie as movie-goers will have watching.

“It was the first time I’d done something like this and I just felt like it was an amazing experience,” Suarez said.