Cars 3

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Cars 3
Cars 3

As the Piston Cup season progresses, Lightning McQueen and his long-time friends find themselves overshadowed by Jackson Storm, an arrogant racer who is part of a new generation who use the latest technology to boost their performance. The older racers gradually retire or are fired by their sponsors. During the final race of the season, Lightning tries to overtake Jackson, but spins out and suffers a terrible rollover crash.

Four months later, Lightning is recovering in Radiator Springs and reflecting on the crash that ended the career of his late mentor, Doc Hudson. He tells his girlfriend, Sally Carrera, that he does not want to be forced into retirement as Doc was and decides to start training again, looking for new ways to regain his edge.

Rusty and Dusty, the owners of Lightning's Rust-Eze racing team, send him to a newly opened racing center. When he arrives, he learns that they have sold Rust-Eze to new owner Sterling, who assigns him to work with trainer Cruz Ramirez. Lightning becomes impatient with Cruz's methods and tries to use a high-tech racing simulator, only to cause severe damage to the equipment.

Sterling is ready to take Lightning off the racing circuit and use him for product endorsements, but Lightning offers a deal instead. If he can win the first race of the new season in Florida, he can keep racing at his discretion; otherwise, he will retire immediately. Sterling accepts the deal and sends Cruz to work with him one-on-one at a nearby beach.

Instead of improving his own top speed to beat Jackson's, Lightning spends most of the day helping Cruz get used to racing on sand. They travel to a dirt track on which Doc raced and inadvertently end up competing in a demolition derby, which Cruz ultimately wins. When Lightning rages at her for wasting his time, Cruz reveals that she had wanted to race professionally when she was younger, but never started a race because she felt outclassed by the other cars. She leaves to continue the trip back to the center on her own.

After seeing a report on Jackson's new speed record, Lightning calls Mater for some advice. Mater suggests that he track down Doc's mentor Smokey. Lightning picks up Cruz, and the two travel to Doc's hometown of Thomasville, where they meet Smokey and several of Doc's old friends. With help from Cruz, they coach Lightning in methods to outsmart Jackson instead of trying to beat him with sheer speed. Smokey reveals that even though Doc never raced again after his crash, he found a new happiness in training Lightning. During a final practice race, Lightning has a flashback to his crash and loses to Cruz, who has been taking some of Smokey's lessons to heart.

At the race in Florida, he is surprised to find Smokey and Doc's old friends cheering him on. Sterling spots Cruz among them and orders her to return to the racing center, but Lightning calls her back to the speedway, has the crew outfit her for racing, and gives her his number so she can take his place. Using both Smokey's advice and her own, Lightning coaches her through the pack until she is in second place behind Jackson. On the last lap, Jackson rams Cruz into the wall, but she flips away and lands ahead of him to win the race. She and Lightning are both credited with the victory, and she quits her job with Sterling and accepts an offer to race for Dinoco.

Later, in Radiator Springs, Lightning and Cruz put on an exhibition race for their friends. They have adopted Doc's old racing colors and number, respectively, to honor his memory. Dinoco has bought Rust-Eze from Sterling, and Lightning decides to continue racing and train Cruz as well.

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