Tony Scott, 68, died Monday in an apparent suicide in San Pedro, CA.

Image: Cole Trickle #46 Days of Thunder car by Mike Traverse, CC BY-SA 2.0

Scott is famous for directing and producing an enormous amount of films that—despite not winning any Academy Awards—scores of people around the world absolutely love, including Top Gun, Crimson Tide, Enemy of the State, Beverly Hills Cop II, True Romance, and many others.

We love racing at OnAllCylinders. And for some of us, Days of Thunder was the first thing to spark our interest in NASCAR racing.

Let’s not split hairs over how realistic the racing scenes are in the movie. What do you mean two cars can’t totally bash into each other over and over again, and put one another in the wall going nearly 200 miles per hour? Or that it’s not super easy to blow by all 42 other cars in the field in only a few laps just by dropping the hammer and being super-fast Cole Trickle driver guy? If you don’t consider Days of Thunder realistic, you’re probably the same type of person who doesn’t think the Rocky series had believable boxing scenes!

Here are five reasons we love Days of Thunder. It doesn’t have to make sense. Get on board.

1. Harry Hogge teaches us that rubbing is racing. Giggity.

There’s an important scene where tough guy track bully Rowdy Burns is running the front of his car into the back of Trickle’s, causing Trickle to complain to crew chief Harry Hogge about it. Hogge is quick to teach Trickle, and everyone else in the world, an important driving lesson.

Trickle: “Yeah, well this [S.O.B.] just slammed into me!”

Hogge: “No. No, he didn’t slam into you. He didn’t bump you. He didn’t nudge you. He rubbed you. And rubbin’ son, is racin’.”

Next to the Golden Rule and “Stairway to Heaven,” that’s pretty much the most-important thing we’ve ever heard.

2. Cousin Eddie makes an appearance, but as a mind-blowingly competent team owner.

This is the guy who made the dickey look good and taught so many of us about proper etiquette while staying as a guest in someone’s home.

But in Days of Thunder, he throws us a curveball by being a no-nonsense race team owner.

What is the one thing you absolutely have to do to win a race? You have to finish the race!

Mind. Blown.

Cousin Eddie brings it in this movie, particularly while referencing primates trying to procreate with footballs.

3. The introduction of John C. Reilly.

Because some of us were too young to watch Casualties of War in 1989, 1990’s Days of Thunder was our introduction to John C. Reilly. And we love him. Mostly because of lines and scenes with Will Ferrell we can’t repeat from Step Brothers, but certainly because of classic scenes like this from the comedic racing movie Talladega Nights, where he played Cal Naughton Jr.

Cal: “Hey. When you have the stereo and TV on, how do you change the volume on the stereo?”

Ricky Bobby: “If you have the stereo on…? Why do you have the stereo on while you’re watching TV?”

Cal: “‘Cause I like to party.”

4. Because it has the dude from The Princess Bride in it.

Cary Elwes has been in a ton of movies and TV shows over the years. But only two of them matter—The Princess Bride and Days of Thunder.

Russ Wheeler was sort of the Jimmie Johnson to Trickle’s Jeff Gordon—pretty much making Cousin Eddie the original Rick Hendrick.

5. Cole Trickle teaches us that you can learn to drive a stock car by watching NASCAR coverage on ESPN.

This is good news. We want to be racecar drivers. And we enjoy watching ESPN. Which means Johnson, Greg Biffle, Matt Kenseth, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and the Busch brothers better be looking over their shoulders.

Because we’re about to rub them!

Their cars, we mean.

Thanks for everything, Tony Scott. You brought a lot of joy to a lot of people. And we’re going to remember that every time we watch one of your always-entertaining movies. Rest in peace, sir.

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Author: Matt Griswold

After a 10-year newspaper journalism career, Matt Griswold spent another decade writing about the automotive aftermarket and motorsports. He was part of the original OnAllCylinders editorial team when it launched in 2012.