Lightning is anxious to get there first, so he convinces his trailer, Mack (John Ratzenberger) to drive all night without sleeping. Mack gets sleepy and, through a mishap on the road, Lightning ends up accidentally rolling out of the back of the truck. When Lightning realizes what has happened, he tries to catch up with Mack, but ends up speeding into Radiator Springs at a speed that the Sheriff (Michael Wallis) isn't too happy about. Since Sheriff hasn't seen much action in a while, he keeps back-firing while he's chasing Lightning. Lightning mistakes the back-firing for gunfire and ends up tearing up the town while trying to get away.
The Sheriff catches Lightning and he ends up being sentenced to fix the road he damaged as his community service. In the course of his stay in Radiator Springs, Lightning becomes best friends with a tow truck named Mater (Larry the Cable Guy), and falls in love with a beautiful Porsche named Sally Carrera (Bonnie Hunt). He also finds a mentor in Doc Hudson (Paul Newman), who shows him that he has been selfish and has been too worried about winning and not enough about others. With Sally's help, Lightning finds beauty in the town of Radiator Springs and in others. To make amends, he not only fixes the road, but he also helps to restore Radiator Springs to its former glory and then helps every car in the town by patronizing their businesses.
The world finds Lightning and Mack whisks him off to win the Piston Cup. Lightning runs a good race, with the help of Doc Hudson and the rest of his new friends, who decide to be his pit crew, but, in the end, he shows that he has learned his lesson; he shows that he is a winner in the game of life and that the most important thing isn't always being the first to cross the finish line.
With the race behind him, Lightning returns to Radiator Springs, to be with Sally Carrera and his friends. He also manages to help put Radiator Springs back on the map when he announces that he is moving his racing headquarters to Radiator Springs and when he recommends the tire shop run by Luigi (Tony Shalhoub) to his professional racecar friends.
If you're into special features, you're going to love Cars. The new Cine-Explore feature brings up a "dashboard" of sorts onto the bottom of the screen. This dashboard allows you to switch between two commentaries (Director and Production Staff) and also allows you to choose whether or not you want concept art and other visual aids to appear on the screen as the commentary refers to items that have supporting images. At certain times, when the commentary begins to discuss something that is covered on one of the documentary shorts, an on-screen button will light up and you can choose to branch off to the documentary. When the documentary is over, you will be returned to your place in the film. This is a pretty cool feature, allowing you to customize your experience and learn more about whatever part of the film interests you more. If you aren't the hands-on type, however, you can switch from manual over to "auto" and it will play the director commentary and will automatically select all of the documentaries when they occur in the film. Additionally, there is a game called "Carfinder" in Cars. This game has you watching for specific cars as the movie plays. When you see one of the cars indicated, you select the appropriate car to gain points. Select the wrong car or select a car when it's not on-screen and you lose points. For each car you correctly identify, you unlock special bio information about that character in the "Car Guide." It's pretty cool to see the detail they went into giving even some of the bit-part characters background stories. You also get to see the names of cars whose names were never mentioned in the film, itself. Again, Cars offers a whole lot of fairly interactive content to let viewers learn more about the film.
Cars is a great family movie, with a moral or two to share, without feeling to "preachy." It also gives an awareness to the plight of the small towns that line Route 66 and used to thrive, until the Interstate was built, leading most people to simply bypass these towns to save time.
I would highly recommend Cars; it's a wonderful movie that does justice to both the Disney and Pixar names.