Lightning McQueen, typically referred to by his surname McQueen, is an anthropomorphic racecar and the main protagonist in the 2006 animated Pixar film Cars. He was named after Pixar animator Glenn McQueen who died from skin cancer in 2002; it was erroneously believed after the film debuted that the name was influenced by actor and noted racing buff Steve McQueen. He is based on generic NASCAR vehicles, but with design influences from the Chevrolet Corvette and Dodge Viper . Late in the film, he is painted much like the Chevrolet Corvette C1. He is voiced by actor Owen Wilson in the film, Mater and the Ghostlight, the video game and Keith Ferguson in Cars Toons, Cars Mater-National, and Cars Race-O-Rama.
In the beginning of the film, Lightning McQueen is a skilled but arrogant racing rookie. Hoping to be the first rookie to win the Piston Cup race and gain a lucrative endorsement deal from Dinoco Oil, he finishes in a three-way tie with perennial runner-up Chick Hicks and veteran Strip "The King" Weathers.
On route to California for a tie-breaker race, he becomes detoured off U.S. Route 66 in New Mexico because of The Delinquent Road Hazards and finds himself in Radiator Springs, a nearly abandoned town which saw its livelihood largely taken away by the construction of Interstate 40 decades ago. McQueen accidentally destroys the town's main road because of his fear of the sheriff (he mistook the old cruiser's backfiring for gunshots), and the townsfolk require him to repair it.
Over the course of his stay in the town, he comes to form friendships with the residents of the town. He falls in love with a former city-dwelling attorney named Sally, and gains a deep respect and reverence for the town's judge and doctor, an ex-race car named Doc Hudson. These experiences lead McQueen to understand the importance of friendship and love, and that fame is not the most important thing in life.
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