This November, Magnolia Pictures will bring to theaters a story that's a familiar one for thousands of families across America, but a tale largely unknown or ignored by much of the general public. When the trailer for The Last Race first hit my inbox, I immediately thought of a place that I've mentioned a few times in the virtual pages of The Rock Father™ Magazine in years past... the late Santa Fe Speedway in Willow Springs, Illinois. If you've ever been around short track auto racing, it's a familiar situation - racing thrives, but as development closes in on the race track, eventually the owners get squeezed out in favor of strip malls and upscale housing, often headed-up by litigious individuals and organizations that seek to eliminate the "inconvenience" of what was there before them. In the case of The Last Race, the subject is Riverhead Raceway, the last remaining auto track in Metro New York - one now surrounded, where racing takes place in the shadows of a Dick's Sporting Goods and a lumber yard. Check out the trailer below for what looks to be one of this fall's must-see documentary films.
The 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series is just around the corner, and there's no race more iconic in that scene than the Daytona 500. For the 60th running of the mighty race, the sound of 40 stock cars tearing up the 2.5-mile tri-oval will be accompanied by the cheers of 500 fans who will be brought to Florida by the folks at Busch Beer, and you could be one of them. Check out the details below, which arrived here at Rock Father HQ this morning...
If you've seen the trailers for Disney-Pixar's Cars 3, then you've no doubt seen the down-and-dirty world of demolition derby on display. But this isn't any demo - it's "Crazy 8's," and like many things in Pixar films, face value isn't always what it seems. "Have you ever been at a crossroads in life where you feel really out of place?" asks Supervising Animator Bobby Podesta during a presentation on Pixar's Production Pipeline, held during a media event at California's Sonoma Raceway. "That’s the point of this scene," he says. "The audience ends up feeling out of their element, just like McQueen does." Much of Cars 3 is focused on that those crossroads, and how to move beyond them. For the production, that was mirrored by how intertwined the technical team was on bringing this new story to the screen, moving well beyond everything that they'd pulled off in the past.
As the June 16 release of Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 approaches, various partners are getting in on the action, and today it's Subway, along with Joe Gibbs Racing driver Daniel Suárez. The NASCAR driver, who voices "next generation racer" Daniel Swervez in Cars 3, rolled into the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Greater Charlotte for a special after school event. Suárez fired-up his specially branded Subway/Cars 3 stock car for the children in attendance, after speaking with them about the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle.
This inside look at Cars 3 is presented in collaboration between The Rock Father and Disney•Pixar...
"Sequels are increasingly challenging. There has to be a meaningful story, or there's just no reason to tell it." - Scott Morse, Story Supervisor, Cars 3
When the first teaser for Disney•Pixar's Cars 3 hit the scene, audiences immediately knew that the third chapter in Lightning McQueen's story would be very different than anything we'd seen before. It's been eleven years since the world of Radiator Springs first came speeding into theaters, and in the decade-plus since, McQueen and the crew have never gone away - though with several short films and one theatrical sequel in 2011's Cars 2 (the film I credit for starting The Rock Daughters' love of cars in general), it was always a grey area as to whether or not another cinematic adventure would be in the cards. For Cars 3, the spirit lies in the groundwork provided in that very first film - largely by inverting it. When we first met McQueen, he was on top - a brash newcomer with an unstoppable spirit... but as history has shown us, you're never on top forever.
As a kid, I grew up around racing. My dad was a track announcer, traveling on occasion with World of Outlaw/UARA Midgets - an era in which I got to see a lot of the short tracks across the Midwest. For awhile, he was also a regular announcer at the famed Santa Fe Speedway near Chicago, so I had plenty of chances to get up close to some high-octane fun. As an adult, I've seen my girls become enthusiastic about racing, and it all goes back to when our oldest daughter first saw Disney•Pixar's Cars. That was the start of the fascination here, and that makes it even more special that I've had the opportunity to work with Disney in promotion of Cars 3 - in theaters on June 16, 2017. During the early press days for the film, I found myself on the track at Sonoma Raceway - the road course formerly known as Sears Point - for a ride-along, along with some time spent doing a "Pit Stop Challenge" and witnessing a presentation on the history of NASCAR racing, presented by Cars franchise Creative Director Jay Ward and former Hendrick Motorsports Crew Chief, Ray Evernham. If you love racing, Cars 3 is going to mean a lot to you... but even if racing isn't your thing, you just might learn a lot, and find something new to love.