The Driver Suit Blog-Wheel Reviews-Days Of Thunder

By David G. Firestone

If you ask people what the quintessential NASCAR movie is, most would say Days of Thunder. Certainly it is a good movie. It stars Tom Cruise as Cole Trickle, who is based on Tim Richmond, and Robert Duvall as Harry Hogge, based on Harry Hyde. The movie starts with the Daytona 500, which features Rowdy Burns, played by Michael Rooker, wrecking Richard Petty, and while this is going on, Tim Dalland, based on Rich Hendrick, recruits Harry Hogge, a former crew chief who left the sport after the death of a driver was linked to his methods. Dalland talks Hogge into meeting Cole Trickle, a sprint car driver with no stock car experience. Rowdy sets up a car for a test, and Cole proves his talents fast.

Hogge and Cole don’t agree on much during their first races, and they meet little success. Finally, Hogge takes Cole to a track and tells him that if he races Hogge’s way, he can win, but if he races Cole’s way, he won’t. He is quickly proven right, and Cole becomes a winner. Rowdy and Cole develop a fierce rivalry, and at the Firecracker 400 at Daytona in July, they get into a crash, and both are seriously injured.

As they recover, they become good friends. Cole meets Dr. Claire Lewicki, and the two begin a romantic relationship. Dalland hires Russ Wheeler, based on Rusty Wallace, to fill in for Cole. Cole is back in the car before the end of the season, but Rowdy’s injuries are career ending. Russ proves himself to be a dirty driver, and wins at North Wilksboro after wrecking Cole on pit road. An understandably upset Cole wrecks him after the race, and is fired by Dalland.

Rowdy asks Cole to race for him in the Daytona 500, and Cole agrees. Russ gets dirty again, and damages Cole’s transmission. Cole comes back and wins the race. Standard Hollywood ending. But what makes this movie really good is that there are a lot of things that happened in real life. There is a scene where Cole wants to pit, but because the crew is eating ice cream, he can’t. That happened to Benny Parsons in 1987. A subplot where Rowdy and Cole must drive together to have dinner took place with Dale Earnhardt and Geoff Bodine in the 1980’s. The scene where Cole and Rowdy race a pair of rental cars to the breaking point was a common occurrence between Curtis Turner and Joe Weatherly.

The 1990’s uniforms are amazing, but the really odd thing is after Cole wins the Daytona 500, his uniform is heavily soiled, and has a large tear in the leg. I still don’t understand how a brand new suit can get that level of damage, after one race. I still love this movie, and I highly recommend it.

I did this as a stand alone post because I came across something that I felt deserved to be on the blog.  I found this:days of thunder

That is an eBay listing for a suit worn by Carl Elwes while playing Russ Wheeler!  The suit looks really good, and I would buy it provided it wasn’t so expensive!dot2 dot3 dot1It has a classic late 1980’s/early 1990’s look, and the Hardees color scheme looks really good.

Editor’s note, for the next 3 weeks, I will be taking a badly needed vacation, so while I have articles ready to go, I won’t have any paint scheme reviews until I come back.


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