Days of Thunder
Days of Thunder
Release: June 27, 1990
Producers: Don Simpson & Jerry Bruckheimer
A movie about NASCAR
Tom Cruise as Cole Trickle
Nicole Kidman as Dr. Claire Lewicki
Robert Duvall as Harry Hogge
Randy Quaid as Tim Daland
Michael Rooker as Rowdy Burns
Cary Elwes as Russ Wheeler
John C. Reilly as Buddy Brotherton
Fred Thompson as "Big John"
Cameos from NASCAR
personalities Dr. Jerry Punch, Neil Bonnett
, Harry Gant
, Rusty Wallace
, Bob Jenkins, and Richard Petty
The main racing team characters are very loosely based on some elements of the Hendrick Motorsports team, with Tim Daland as Rick Hendrick, a Charlotte-area car dealer starting a NASCAR
team. Cole Trickle is the handsome young open wheel racer who wants to get into stock car racing, similar to Hendrick driver Tim Richmond
's start into NASCAR
, driving for Hendrick. Harry Hogge is based on Harry Hyde, Tim Richmond's crew chief for the Hendrick team. Rowdy Burns was similar to Dale Earnhardt
, a champion driver in a black Chevrolet
with a tough reputation.
Contrary to rumors a decade after the movie was released, Cole Trickle was not based on Jeff Gordon
. This may be because of the similarities between Trickle and Gordon both in appearance and background (both came from California) and the tragic loss of Tim Richmond
in 1989, but in the film's release year of 1990, (not counting the filming and production time put in between writing the script and releasing the film), Jeff Gordon
had just one Busch Grand National
start, and wouldn't even make his first Winston Cup
appearance until a single race in 1992.
The film is notable in motorsports for having a car entered in the Daytona 500
equipped with a movie camera in the front bumper and in the film industry for being the film where Tom Cruise met Nicole Kidman.
Its influence continued decades after its release. Kyle Busch
taking on the nickname Rowdy after the Days of Thunder character Rowdy Burns as well as the original black #51 paint scheme driven by Rowdy Burns in the film for Kyle's NASCAR
truck team. The 2006 Will Ferrell film, Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, co-starred John C. Reilly (who played crewman Buddy Brotherton in Days of Thunder) and used some of the same car-launching equipment to create the crash scenes as was used for the rollover wreck in Days of Thunder.
The main race car driver characters in the movie all drive Chevrolet Lumina
-based race cars.
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