Strip Weathers, known by most as The King, is a seven-time Piston Cup champion who possessed the Dinoco sponsorship prior to retiring after the 2005 season.
In Cars, when Darrell Cartrip and Bob Cutlass are introducing The King, Chick Hicks, and Lightning McQueen to the audience, they describe Weathers as having been "Dinoco's golden boy for years" and speculate on whether or not he will be able to pull off one last victory in the final race of his career.
As Lightning knows that Strip and Chick are both threats to his success, he decides to continue racing while all of the other racers are taking pit stops. This decision ultimately causes both of his rear tires to blow out during the final lap, leaving Lightning struggling to reach the finish line, with both Weathers and Hicks catching up to him. The race results in the first three-way tie in Piston Cup history, leaving the audience stunned and excited. A tie-breaker race is set to be held at the Los Angeles International Speedway, which will determine who receives the Piston Cup trophy.
After the race, Lightning is approached by Weathers, who compliments him on his skill, but insults Lightning's arrogance in not changing his tires. While The King is giving him advice, McQueen begins to daydream about winning the Dinoco sponsorship, and becoming a celebrity. Immediately after, the three cars make their way to the winner's circle, where confetti is launched and the audience cheers.
At the race in Los Angeles, Lightning has a considerable lead on the other two racers in the final lap, but Chick, who is frustrated of constantly placing behind The King, performs a PIT maneuver on Weathers, causing him to spin out of control and into the field, receiving heavy damage in the process. As Lightning notices this on the big screen above him, he comes to a complete stop in front of the finish line, allowing Chick to pass and win the race. The stadium watches in silence and confusion as Lightning reverses into the field, and pushes The King to the finish line, wanting him to be able to finish his final race.
McQueen's actions capture the attention of the audience, stealing the spotlight away from Chick, who is booed when he claims his trophy. Lynda Weathers thanks Lightning for what he did, and Tex Dinoco offers McQueen the Dinoco sponsorship for his good sportsmanship, but Lightning instead chooses to stick with Rust-eze.
Cars: The Video Game
In Cars: The Video Game, The King appears as a playable character in the arcade and versus game modes. He can be unlocked with 12,000 Bonus Points, but can only be used in Piston Cup races. Since Strip had retired prior to the events of the game, much of Darrell Cartrip's commentary revolves around remarks about Weathers' return to the race track.
Though he does not make a physical appearance in the game's story mode, Strip is mentioned during the cutscene for Palm Mile Speedway, in which Cartrip remarks about how with The King off the circuit, that means that Lightning and Chick only have each other as rivals now.
Preview videos for toys in the Cars Play Set, such as monster truck tires, will sometimes showcase The King using them. Since only the player has access to these toys, it is possible that Strip, like Finn McMissile, may have been intended to be a playable character at one point during the game's development.
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In Cars 3, Strip returns as a crew chief for his nephew, Cal Weathers, who is now the Dinoco racer in the Piston Cup. He appears at the beginning of the film, sarcastically commentating on Cal's poor comeback to McQueen asking if he's having a carwash. He later appears at the end of the film at the Florida 500 with his nephew, when Tex offers Cruz Ramirez the Dinoco sponsorship.
The King is painted Dinoco Blue, with the Dinoco sponsor and number "43". On his trunk, he has a giant, tall blue spoiler.
Strip is based on a 1970 Plymouth Superbird with a 426 ci hemi (about seven liters) engine, the same model Richard Petty drove. The Superbird was a heavily modified version of the Plymouth Road Runner, specifically designed for stock car racing. Its radical design was later banned by NASCAR. The King features slightly bigger wheels and a shortened wheelbase - an edit only for the film to make the car more visually appealing.
Personality and traits
The King is kind and caring about others, much unlike Lightning McQueen's former persona. He enjoys the quiet of his home, and spending time with his wife, Lynda Weathers, and his friends, such as Luke Pettlework.
Powers and abilities
The King is one of the most well-known racers of all time, known for his seven Piston Cup wins, and being the racer chosen to sport the blue Dinoco paint job and logos.
""The King," Strip Weathers, has seen it all. From his humble beginnings on the Piston Cup circuit, to the glitzy sponsorship and media attention he has today. This seven time Piston Cup Champion is the winningest racecar in all of Piston Cup history. He's loved every second of his racing career, but truth be told, The King is ready for a slower pace. He's looking forward to more time with his queen, Mrs. the King."
"After a spectacular crash The King looked pretty beat up, but rest assured he was back on his tires in no time flat! When you've been racing and crashing as long as he has, you can handle a few scrapes and bruises."
"You just gave up the Piston Cup. You know that?" - Cars
"The Hudson Hornet was my inspiration." - Cars
"This ain't a one man deal kid. You gotta wise up, get yourself a good crew chief, and a good team." - Cars
"Alright, you're showing some smarts there." - Cars: The Video Game
"So you like to win, do you?" - Cars: The Video Game
"Good comeback, Cal." - Cars 3
Names in other languages
The King's crash seems to be a re-creation of Petty's real-life Daytona 500 accident in 1988 with the exception that it was not caused by a collision with another driver as in the movie. The bit which McQueen assists him to the finish line seems to be based on the 1976 incident, albeit by the pit crew.
In the Danish version, The King is voiced by eight-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen.
In the Finnish version, The King is voiced by Finnish two-time Formula One World Champion Mika Häkkinen.
In the German version, he is voiced by Austrian three-time Formula One World Champion Niki Lauda.
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