Jump to content

Cars on the Road

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Cars on the Road
Developed bySteve Purcell
Voices of
Theme music composerBobby Podesta
Jake Monaco
Opening theme"Cars on the Road" by Bobby Hamrick
ComposerJake Monaco
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes9
Executive producers
ProducerMarc Sondheimer[1]
CinematographyRobert Anderson
Laura Grieve
EditorsJason Brodkey
Serena Warner
Running time8 minutes[2]
Production companyPixar Animation Studios
Original release
ReleaseSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)
Cars Toons (2008–2014)

Cars on the Road is an American animated series of shorts produced by Pixar Animation Studios for the Disney+ streaming service and based on the Cars franchise. The main cast includes Owen Wilson as Lightning McQueen and Larry the Cable Guy as Mater. The series is written by Steve Purcell and produced by Marc Sondheimer.[1] Set after the events of Cars 3 (2017), Cars on the Road follows Lightning (Wilson) and Mater (Cable Guy) as they embark on a road trip to attend the wedding of Mater's sister, while visiting various locations and characters along the way.

The short series was announced in December 2020, during Disney's Investor Day. Sondheimer says the directors worked together to maintain continuity within the series. The title was revealed in November 2021, during Pixar's special for 2021's Disney+ Day. Concepts for the episodes include stories which pay homage to films such as Mad Max (1979) and The Shining (1980). The production designer altered the lighting to further evoke Ray Harryhausen's films. Production for the series took place over 15 months. Jake Monaco provided the score for all nine episodes, who also co-wrote the series' title theme song with Bobby Podesta, with Bobby Hamrick performing the song.

Cars on the Road premiered on September 8, 2022, as part of Disney+ Day.[3][1] The series received positive reviews for its vocal performances, messages, humor, role models and homages to pop culture.


Some years after Lightning McQueen and Cruz Ramirez won the Florida 500 against Jackson Storm in the events of Cars 3 (2017), Lightning McQueen and Mater embark on a cross-country road trip around the United States to attend the wedding of Mater's sister, Mato. Along the way, they come across various locations and characters old and new.[1]

Voice cast[edit]

Red, Mack, Sheriff, Sarge and Lizzie make silent cameos in "Dino Park". Taco makes a silent cameo in "The Legend".


No.TitleDirected by [4]Written by [1]Storyboard byOriginal air date [5]
1"Dino Park"Steve PurcellSteve PurcellBrian Fee, Bobby Podesta, Steve Purcell & J. Garret SheldewSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)
Sometime after Lightning McQueen became Cruz Ramirez’ trainer for winning the Florida 500, Mater informs his friends at Radiator Springs that he'll be leaving the town for a few days to attend the wedding of his sister, Mato. Lightning offers to accompany him, and the two go on a road trip to the wedding. At Lightning's insistence, the two stop at a dino-car museum, where Mater is scared by the dino-car statues. Mater falls asleep and dreams of him and Lightning as cavecars, being attacked by dino-cars. He later wakes up, no longer afraid thanks to his dream, before leaving the park with Lightning.
2"Lights Out"Steve PurcellSteve PurcellBrian Fee & Steve PurcellSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)
As a storm pours in, Lightning and Mater arrive at a spooky hotel, where they are greeted by a creepy clerk. Mater expresses fear of the hotel, but Lightning assures him to not be scared. That night, while Mater is asleep, Lightning explores the hotel, is haunted by several ghosts, and returns to his room by morning, terrified. As the duo leave the hotel, the clerk, revealed to be a ghost, then taunts the camera.
3"Salt Fever[6]"Brian FeeSteve PurcellBrian Fee, Bobby Podesta & J. Garret SheldewSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)
Lightning and Mater reach salt flats and come across land speed racers. A duo of mechanics take Mater and adds boosters to him. Mater proceeds to race, going further as he progresses to Lightning's concern. Suddenly, the boosters fall apart and Mater is launched into the air. He experiences an out-of-chassis experience, meeting the soul of the Speed Demon, a car-ified version of the Grim Reaper. Mater returns to his body and uses his hook to prevent him from crashing. Both Lightning and Mater are bombarded by other cars piqued by the records the latter set, and flee the area.
4"The Legend"Brian FeeSteve PurcellMelony Cisinski & Brian FeeSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)

While camping on a mountain, Mater meets a group of investigators searching for "Bigfoot" due to supposed sightings in the mountain. After Mater agrees on behalf of both himself and Lightning to join them, the duo accompanies the group on their search. Lightning is carnapped by the purported "Bigfoot", whom he discovers is actually Ivy, a monster truck who ran away to the mountains due to feeling uncomfortable smashing cars as a performance. Mater finds them at Ivy's shack, and the two agree to scare off the investigators by pretending to be aliens. The next morning, Ivy joins the duo on their road trip.

In a post-credits scene, Mater dances on the road while Lightning cheers him on.
5"Show Time"Bobby PodestaSteve PurcellMelony Cisinski & Bobby PodestaSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)

Lightning, Mater, and Ivy visit a car wash, where the latter two get cleaned. Later on, they see a traveling circus, which Lightning is hesitant to enter due to his fear of clowns. The three watch a show, and then Ivy is picked to perform a show where she crushes cars, similar to her previous shows. Instead of crushing the cars below, Ivy dances over them, amazing the others with her talent. Ivy is invited to stay at the circus as Lightning and Mater, leaving the circus, bid her goodbye.

In a post-credits scene, a worker at the car wash listens to a song on the radio and bops to it.
6"Trucks"Bobby PodestaSteve PurcellBobby Podesta & Brandon MoonSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)

On the road, Mater expresses doubt whether he is a truck or not, as Lightning encourages him that he is one. The two come across a truck-filled rest stop. While Lightning looks around the store, all the trucks bring Mater into a musical number where they sing about their pride of being trucks. Once finished, a more confident Mater leaves with Lightning, who is unaware of the performance.

In a post-credits scene, Lightning has the song stuck in his head, to Mater's shock.
7"B-Movie"Brian FeeSteve PurcellBrian FeeSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)
While driving through a city, Lightning and Mater observe the filming of a zombie sci-fi film. The crew notice Lightning and decide to cast him as a deputy, although the filming goes awry due to his bad acting. Meanwhile, Mater impresses the crew and is given multiple roles, to Lightning's jealousy. Mater later explains to Lightning that he is good at everything and that he has got to leave a few leftovers for the others to do, which comforts him. The next day, the duo find out that the entire story was rewritten to be a musical instead, and Ivy has been cast as a leading role. Lightning and Mater, fired from the film, drive away.
8"Road Rumblers"Steve PurcellSteve PurcellBobby Podesta, Steve Purcell & J. Garret SheldewSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)
While on the road, Lightning and Mater argue, come across a camp, and get captured by cars with spikes attached. The two are forced to compete in the Thundercone, a deadly battle royal where one has to successfully kill the other, while avoiding traps set around the upside-down cone arena that competitors fight on. The competition, however, is interrupted by the arrival of cars with electricity and solar power. One of the cars, Jeremy, explains that both sides used to be one camping group before conflicts emerged and factions were built. Lightning and Mater attempt to dissolve the fight by giving a speech, but it fails and the two flee, with Jeremy following. At a rest stop, they later see that both groups of cars have made peace.
9"Gettin’ Hitched"Bobby PodestaBobby Podesta and Steve PurcellBobby PodestaSeptember 8, 2022 (2022-09-08)

Lightning and Mater finally arrive at Mato's wedding at Mater's childhood home, where Lightning discovers that Mater comes from a wealthy family and that Mato's fiancé is Mateo, the cousin of his protégée and student, Cruz. Lightning confesses to Cruz that he's been uncomfortable with the trip due to his experiences. Meanwhile, Mater and Mato reunite, re-sparking their sibling rivalry until Cruz helps them reconcile. At the wedding, Mater makes a speech that allows Lightning to come to terms with his experiences, and he suggests returning to Radiator Springs by road instead of plane as he planned.

In a post-credits scene, Lightning wonders where Mato and Mateo went to for their honeymoon, before the couple are shown at a tire maze, which Lightning and Mater had visited previously.



On December 10, 2020, Pixar announced on Disney Investors Day that an animated series starring Lightning McQueen and Mater traveling the country while meeting friends, new and old, was in development and that it would be released on Disney+ in the fall of 2022. It also announced that the series is written by Steve Purcell and produced by Marc Sondheimer,[1][7] with Purcell, Bobby Podesta and Cars 3 director Brian Fee directing episodes for the series.[4] According to Sondheimer, the directors worked together to maintain continuity within the series.[8] On November 12, 2021, it was announced that the series would be titled Cars on the Road.[3] Production for the series took place over 15 months.[9] According to Purcell, a few concepts for episodes were unusued, througth he hopes to use them in a potential second season.[10]


The filmmakers wanted a short-form series because they felt it was the best way to explore the concept of a road trip, while also exploring the relationship between Lightning and Mater, as the producers felt the characters lacked screentime together. Each episode features a different tone and genre.[11] The concept for the series was suggested by Purcell as the producers brainstormed ideas, having been inspired by a childhood road trip he took with his family; he wanted to explore how Lightning and Mater react to finding themselves in different scenarios.[12][13] Purcell also sought for each episode to have "a totally new sensibility" for which McQueen and Mater would react to.[13] According to Purcell, the story for each episode was decided out of a basic scenario, after which the filmmakers pitched concepts that fit within the Cars world and had not been explored before.[11] Concepts for the episodes include stories inspired by films such as Mad Max and The Shining.[12] For Mater's relationship with his sister, Mato, Podesta drew inspiration from his relationship with his sisters.[8] The writers were also deliberatedly vague on Mato's personality beyond her relationship with Mater until the final episode in order to create audience expectation.[14]


On November 12, 2021, it was announced that Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy would reprise their respective roles as Lightning McQueen and Mater.[15] According to director Brian Fee, Larry and Wilson were allowed to provide suggestions while recording their lines.[11]


According to Podesta, the series was animated under a shorter time frame than usual, with each episode taking 5 weeks to animate.[10] One of the episodes features a flashback sequence to the prehistoric era. For the flashback, animators were inspired by the work of stop-motion animator Ray Harryhausen, whose films Purcell watched in his childhood.[9] For both the dinosaurs' movement and when Lightning and Mater's prehistoric counterparts are picked by the dinosaurs, animators deactivated the motion blur, which they did use for the rest of the sequence, to reflect the feeling of Harryhausen's films.[9] The production designer also altered the lighting to further evoke his films. Other elements such as frames were also altered.[9]


Following the trailer's release, it was revealed Jake Monaco composed the score for all nine episodes.[4] Monaco also co-wrote the series' title theme song alongside director Bobby Podesta, with Bobby Hamrick performing the song.[16] Each episode features a variation of the theme song to reflecting its style.[9] The soundtrack, featuring Monaco's score and four songs, including two versions of the theme, was released on September 5, 2022.[16]

Cars on the Road
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedSeptember 5, 2022 (2022-09-05)
LabelWalt Disney
ProducerJake Monaco

All tracks are written by Jake Monaco, except where noted

1."Cars on the Road" (Main Title)Bobby PodestaBobby Hamrick0:20
2."Doo Wop in the Bucket"  1:54
3."Dino Park"  1:32
4."Matersaur"  1:45
5."Cars in the Carboniferous"  0:48
6."Lights Out"  1:57
7."Wraith Wrock"  1:15
8."Cars Haunt the Road"  0:49
9."Salt Fever"  1:43
10."Speed Daemon"  1:18
11."Cars on the Flats"  0:46
12."Wayne County Cryptid Busters"  1:20
13."The Legend"  2:04
14."A Reeeeal Scary Story"  1:45
15."Cars on the Fringe(s of Our Perception)"  1:24
16."Whale Washing"  0:58
17."Show Time"  2:07
18."Circus Velocitas"  1:27
19."Tip Tap Boom"  1:04
20."New Beginnings"  1:19
21."Cars in the Show"  0:48
22."Truckey’s"  1:08
23."TRUCKS"Jake Monaco, Podesta, and Steve PurcellCars on the Road – Cast3:00
24."Trucks on the Road"  0:37
25."B-Movie"  1:55
26."Brain on Wheels"Monaco and PurcellQuinta Brunson1:04
27."Cars on the Backlot"  0:46
28."Road Rumblers"  0:58
29."Oil Cans Harry"  3:40
30."Brave Cars"  1:00
31."Charge on the Road"  0:39
32."Gettin’ Hitched"  1:43
33."Pomp & Odd Circumstances"  1:10
34."Tow-Mater, Tow-Mato"  1:51
35."Mater’s Speech"  1:17
36."Road Back Home"  1:29
37."Cars on the Road"Podesta and MonacoHamrick2:54
Total length:53:52


Cars on the Road premiered on September 8, 2022 on Disney+, part of Disney+ Day and consists of nine episodes.[3]

Additionally, the show premiered on the Disney Junior YouTube channel on September 5, 2023, where all episodes were released until December 24, 2023.[17][18] Disney Junior uploaded a compilation of the entire show on January 7, 2024, too.[19] Moreover, the official Pixar Cars YouTube channel uploaded a compilation of the first five episodes on February 7, 2024 and of the remaining ones on March 14, 2024. Internationally, the show received a YouTube release for the German-speaking region on Disney Junior Deutschland, starting off on October 30, 2023.[20] Other than that, Cars on the Road had its linear debut on the German Disney Channel on November 19, 2023.[21]


The official trailer was released by Pixar’s YouTube channel on August 1, 2022.[22] To promote the series' release, McDonald's launched its promotional campaign by including one of eight toys free with the purchase of a Happy Meal.[23]


Critical reception[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the series holds a 93% approval rating, with an average rating of 7.00/10 based on 14 reviews.[24]

Joel Keller of Decider found the series to be a classic buddy road trip, praising the humor and the way the show parodies pop culture, while applauding the performances of the voice actors, citing the dynamic between Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy.[25] Polly Conway of Common Sense Media rated the series 4 out of 5 stars, praised the depiction of positive messages and role models, citing friendship and discovery, while finding the series entertaining across its humor and family-friendly.[26] Randy Myers of The Mercury News gave the series 3 out of 4 stars, called the setup simple yet efficient and found the series joyful and entertaining, stating it succeeds to celebrate friendship across the characters, while acknowledging the references to pop culture.[27]

Audience viewership[edit]

According to Flix Patrol, Cars on the Road was the 7th most watched streaming series on Disney+ in the week of its release, as well as the 3rd and 9th most watched in its second and third week respectively.[28][29] On Disney Junior's YouTube channel, all episodes have amassed more than 34 million views with the most popular episodes being Trucks (9,6M), Salt Fever (6,1M) and Lights Out (5,3M). The compilation adds an additional 11 million views as of June 2024 .[30] The compilations on the Cars YouTube channel have 7 and 6 million views respectively.

Additionally, the official music video for the song Trucks from the episode of the same name has received more than 66 million views on YouTube.[31]


Christopher Foreman, Elana Lederman, John Lockwood, Jae Jun Yi, Justin Ritter were nominated for the short "Road Rumblers" for the category Outstanding Achievement for Animated Effects in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production at the 50th Annie Awards.[32] The series is nominated for Outstanding Editing for an Animated Program for Jason Brodkey and Serena Warner at the 2nd Children's and Family Emmy Awards.[33] It is also nominated for Short Form Series with associate casting directors Natalie Lyon, Kevin Reher and Kate Hansen-Birnbaum at the 39th Artios Awards.[34]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Disney+ Programming: Here's What Was Announced Or Confirmed For Streamer During Disney Investor Day". deadline.com. 11 December 2020.
  2. ^ JoBlo.com (2022-09-07). "Cars on the Road TV Review". JoBlo.com. Retrieved 2023-05-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e "'Cars on the Road' Disney+ Series Bringing Back Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy". collider.com. 12 November 2021.
  4. ^ a b c Behzadi, Sofia (2022-08-01). "'Cars On The Road' Pixar Series Gets Premiere Date On Disney+, First-Look Trailer". Deadline. Retrieved 2022-08-01.
  5. ^ Larasati, Dyah (2022-08-06). "'Cars on the Road': Trailer, Release Date, Cast, and Everything We Know So Far". Collider. Retrieved 2022-08-10.
  6. ^ "Disney+ Revs up 'Cars on the Road' with Clip, Credits, Images & Soundtrack Reveal". 6 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Every Pixar Project Announced at Disney's Investor Day, From Lightyear To Turning Red". Comic Book Resources. December 11, 2020. Archived from the original on December 19, 2020. Retrieved February 15, 2021.
  8. ^ a b "Cars On The Road Bobby Podesta and Marc Sondheimer Interview - video Dailymotion". Dailymotion. 2022-09-04. Retrieved 2022-09-04.
  9. ^ a b c d e Hermanns, Grant (2022-09-05). "Marc Sondheimer, Bobby Podesta, Steve Purcell & Brian Fee Interview: Cars on the Road". ScreenRant. Retrieved 2022-09-05.
  10. ^ a b CARS ON THE ROAD | Interview with the Filmmakers | POC Culture. Retrieved 2024-04-22 – via www.youtube.com.
  11. ^ a b c "Cars On The Road Steve Purcell and Brian Fee Interview - video Dailymotion". Dailymotion. 2022-09-04. Retrieved 2022-09-04.
  12. ^ a b "We Talk To Cars On The Road Directors On The Show's The Shining & Mad Max References". 2022-09-05. Retrieved 2022-09-06.
  13. ^ a b Scoop, Sarah (2022-09-05). "Interview: The Cast and Crew of Disney's Cars on the Road". Sarah Scoop. Retrieved 2022-09-06.
  14. ^ Cars on the Road Filmmaker and Vocal Cast Interviews (Mater / Larry the Cable Guy). Retrieved 2024-04-22 – via www.youtube.com.
  15. ^ "Rev your engines: Owen Wilson and Larry the Cable Guy return to voice Lightning McQueen and Mater in the #DisneyPlus Original Series: Cars on the Road, streaming in 2022! #DisneyPlusDay".
  16. ^ a b "'Cars on the Road' Soundtrack Album Details | Film Music Reporter". Retrieved 2022-09-05.
  17. ^ Dino Park 🦕 | Pixar's: Cars On The Road | Episode 1 | @disneyjunior, 5 September 2023, retrieved 2024-02-05
  18. ^ Getting Hitched | Pixar's: Cars On The Road | Episode 9 | @disneyjunior, 24 December 2023, retrieved 2024-02-05
  19. ^ Every Cars on the Road Episode! ⚡️ | Pixar's: Cars On The Road | Compilation | @disneyjunior, 7 January 2024, retrieved 2024-02-05
  20. ^ Dino Park GANZE FOLGE 1 | Pixar's: Cars On The Road, 30 October 2023, retrieved 2024-02-05
  21. ^ ""Cars"-Spin-Off feiert Free-TV-Premiere". TV Wunschliste (in German). Retrieved 2024-02-05.
  22. ^ Behzadi, Sofia (August 1, 2022). "'Cars On The Road' Pixar Series Gets Premiere Date On Disney+, First-Look Trailer". deadline.com. Retrieved September 8, 2022.
  23. ^ "Cars on the Road Happy Meal Toys at McDonald's — All the Details". pixarpost.com. September 20, 2022. Retrieved August 6, 2023.
  24. ^ "CARS ON THE ROAD: SEASON 1". Rotten Tomatoes.
  25. ^ "'Cars On The Road' Disney Plus Review: Stream It Or Skip It?". Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  26. ^ "Cars on the Road TV Review | Common Sense Media". www.commonsensemedia.org. Retrieved 2022-09-09.
  27. ^ Myers, Randy (2022-09-07). "What to watch". The Mercury News. Retrieved 2022-09-14.
  28. ^ "Cars on the Road TOP 10 • FlixPatrol". FlixPatrol. Retrieved 2024-02-05.
  29. ^ Disney Cars on the Road Season 2 Speculation - Whether it's likely & which characters should return, 21 January 2023, retrieved 2024-02-05
  30. ^ "Cars On The Road Full Episode - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2024-02-05.
  31. ^ Cars on the Road - Cast - TRUCKS (From "Cars on the Road"), 15 September 2022, retrieved 2024-02-05
  32. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (February 26, 2023). "'Guillermo Del Toro's Pinocchio' Wins Five Trophies Including the Top Prize at the 50th Annie Awards". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on February 26, 2023. Retrieved February 26, 2023.
  33. ^ Coates, Tyler (2 November 2023). "Children's & Family Emmy Awards: Disney Dominates Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 15, 2023.
  34. ^ Anderson, Erik (October 25, 2023). "Casting Society Reveals 39th Artios Awards Nominations for Television, Theatre, and Shorts". AwardsWatch. Retrieved February 14, 2024.

External links[edit]