This story appears to happen right before the movie, Cars. Darrell Cartrip is interviewing Lightning McQueen on the show, "Rev Limits." He asks Lightning how he got to be a Piston Cup racer. Then Lightning starts his story.
The story starts one year ago at Thunderhill Raceway. Back then, they called Lightning "Bulldozer McQueen." He was the fastest thing they have seen at the track, and he knew the track very well. He would go through any gap he could find, even the small ones (Lightning went through a small gap, which didn't have much room. That caused the racers he passed to crash). Everyone else were racing for second place. In the race in the story, Lightning won.
Lightning still had to win the regional championship to become a regional champion. It would make it easier to find a sponsor for the Piston Cup races. Lightning did a practice lap at the race track, but crashed, so he had to be in the back of the line.
The next day was the race. Lightning was closing his eyes and saying his "Speed! I am speed!" thing. However, he was doing it for too long, because when he finished, the other racers had already started racing. So he hurried through the track. Later, he was behind Racer 66 and Racer 99. They left a gap. Lightning tried to go through the gap, but they closed the gap at the last second. When Lightning tried again, Racer 66 and 99 were squeezing him, causing him to crash. Racer 66 has won the race. Lightning stayed where he crashed until the lights turned off.
Lightning was driving along the truck trailers, when a moving van peaked out, scaring Lightning. The moving van was impressed with Lightning's speed. The truck introduced himself as Mack, and said that he could help Lightning get into the next Piston Cup Test session. He also says that he never wanted to be a moving van. He wanted to be a race car transporter. A friend of Mack can help him get into the next test session. Mack decided to take Lightning to his friend to prove that he can transport a race car. Lightning decided to do that.
Along the way, Mack was at Top Down Truck Stop getting a car wash, singing a song. Also, he was using the back roads, because he couldn't afford the toll roads. That was causing all sorts of moving supplies to crash into Lightning.
After that, Lightning decided to join the Dinoco team, but Dinoco already had a race car, The King. Then, he asked Hostile Takeover Banks, Chick Hicks' sponsor, but they didn't let him. He asked the No Stall, Gasprin, and several other teams, but none of them let him join. However, Gray had introduced some fellas who he thought could help. They were Dusty Rust-eze and Rusty Rust-eze. Lightning didn't want to join them, because they were rusty cars.
Later, Mack and Lightning were watching the race. Mack told Lightning about a race car in the race who was the best Piston Cup racer ever. However, he was retiring at the end of the season. Meanwhile, Dusty and Rusty came to join them. They said a few jokes. Meanwhile, in the race, the old Rust-Eze racecar has blown a tire and crashed. Rusty and Dusty saw him crash. He decided to quit racing now instead of at the end of the season.
Mack was trying to get Lightning to join the Rust-Eze team. Rusty and Dusty decided to have him join. When Lightning got the sponsorship, he was beginning to feel upset about it, until he realized that the track he was on is bigger than his old track, so he could go faster. When Lightning has crossed the finish line, the announcer said that he broke the track record. The King was impressed, but Chick felt jealous.
After the next break, The King was gonna tell more of the story. Before the King could start the story, the camera car accidentally unplugged the cord to the camera. Darrell told him to hurry up and get them back on the air, but the King told the camera car to calm down and put the plug back in. Then, the King started the story.
First, he recapped on what happened during Mack's story, then he started with the next time he saw Lightning, which was at his first race at Beachside Speedway. It was the Beachside 500. Lightning and Mack arrived at the place, and Mack parked the trailer. They met Rusty and Dusty again, who introduced the pit crew to Lightning. However, Lightning wasn't paying attention, because he was so amazed by the big track.
During the race, Lightning's crew chief wanted to start things easy, but Lightning wanted to hurry and get racing. When he left the pits, his bolts on his tires were lose. When Chick crashed into Lightning, Lightning's tire fell out, so he went back into the pits. Mack said that the pit crew could help him, but Lightning called himself a one-man show. The crew chief said that "we'll see about that."
Later, the race was starting. Lightning tried to get through a cap, but the race cars came together, like how Racer 66 and Racer 99 did earlier in the story. Lightning decided to go around, but a crash happened. Lightning went through the crash without becoming part of it. Then, Lightning came to take a pit stop, but his pit crew was teasing him of how he said he was a one-man show. Lightning decided to admit that he needed his pit crew, so they gave him the pit stop. After the pit stop, Lightning was stuck in the back of the pack. However, he was able to catch up until he was behind The King and Chick on the final lap. Lightning tried to pass them, but couldn't. The race ended with The King winning, Chick coming second, and Lightning third.
Lightning McQueen was gonna finish the rest of the story, which started at Bowling Lake, his 5th race. He had a new paint job with some lightning bolts. He knew that today was gonna be special, real special. He got the pole position for the race. However, this race was on a historic road course, not an oval. Also, there was a new crew chief for Lightning. The crew chief was bossy, and called himself the boss.
The race started, and Lightning was catching up. He caught up with Chick. He was about to pass him on the outside, but that caused him to fall behind instead. Chick then bumped into Lightning, but his crew chief said that he rubbed him, which was part of racing. He decided to pass Chick on the next corner.
As Lightning passed a few cars, they passed him at a turn, because he was on the outside. Then, Lightning took a pit stop. His crew chief was angry at him for taking the turns on the outside. He should be taking the apex of the corner. However, Lightning didn't know what an apex is. (apex, pronounced "ay-peks", means the highest point, the vertex).
Lightning got back in the race. He decided to stay behind the other racers instead of go outside, and it worked. He didn't fall behind. Later, he catched up to The King. He passes him on the inside, but still got passed back. The King tells Lightning, "It's not about how fast you go into a corner, it's about how fast you come out of the corner." Then he raced away, but blown a tire, slowing him down.
Since the other racers were having tire problems, Lightning got told by his crew chief to play it safe and take a pit stop on the next lap. Both the King and Chick went into the pits, but Lightning didn't. In that case, Lightning was now in the lead. His crew chief wanted him to take a pit stop, but he didn't take one. He was getting angry. However, after the other cars took their pit stops, Lightning's crew chief decided to give up.
After that round of pit stops, Lightning was still in the lead. There were only 5 laps, and the King and Chick were behind him. Chick was planning to pass the King and then Lightning. Lightning's tires were getting lose, but he still didn't want to pit. It was the final lap. Chick was about to pass The King, but the King blocked him. Lightning's tire blown right when he crossed the finish line. Lightning has won the race!
Finishing the story, Mack thinks that The King has helped Lightning won that race. After that race, Lightning was sure to become the first rookie to win a Piston Cup. After that came the Dinoco 400...