"The Radiator Springs 500½" is a Cars Toons episode. It is the fourth in the Tales from Radiator Springs series, and first premiered on Disney's app Disney Movies Anywhere on May 20, 2014, then later on Disney Channel on August 1, 2014.
The town of Radiator Springs is hosting their annual "Stanley Days" celebration, in honor of their town's founder Stanley, which Lightning McQueen got dressed up as him, and the rest of the residents have been dressed with early 1900s looks. Mater then spots a cloud of dust in the distance, which a group of Baja racers have sped into town looking for McQueen, having heard he was the fastest racecar in the west. Mater tells them that McQueen is the fastest in the north, south, east and west. Sandy Dunes asks for Mater's name, which Mater replies, and Sandy asks, "What's a 'Mater'?" Mater then replies, "Nothin'. What's a 'Mater' with you?", before the Rimshot Pitty rolls into frame hitting his drums, which he does throughout the rest of the short every time Mater makes a pun. Shortly thereafter, the Baja racers insult Stanley, making Lizzie angry, and prompting Lightning to utter, "Looks like our leisurely drive just turned into a race."
Luigi and Guido then give McQueen an off-road modification, and the racers prepare to start the race. Mater informs the racers of their course with a series of extremely quick and confusing directions. While the racers are speeding their way, Mater leads the rest of the gang along on the leisurely drive, and gets dressed as Stanley so to cheer Lizzie up. The racers come to two canyons with some tractors nearby, which Mater informs them to go left, but they turn right after getting confused with Mater saying that turning left is right when he meant it is correct. As the other residents drive over the rolling hills that were behind the canyon on the left, the racers go over a bumpy ground with rocks scattered around. The Baja racers stop on the edge of a cliff, which Sandy says that "There's no way that Stanley fella coulda done this!" McQueen, thinking that the others gave up, falls down the cliff, and the other racers follow him before they all slide down a steep hill. Sally asks Mater what it is like on the rolling hills back in 1909, which Mater responds that they had ups and downs.
Next, the racers drive through a cactus patch, getting injured with several cacti pieces stuck to them. Meanwhile, Mater and the crew enjoy the drive on the road going past a lake. As they arrive in the Tail Light Caverns, Ramone enjoys the shines of the tail lights on Flo, before Mater says to "go with the flow." The racers, meanwhile, come into a different cavern, which Sandy thought it was the Tail Lights Caverns, until McQueen realizes, by using his off-road headlights, that there are actually tailpipes inside the cavern, which all shoot soot at the racers.
When Mater and the crew are in the Enchanted Forest, Fillmore asks Mater how much further they are, which Mater replies that they're not out of the woods yet, until they are a few seconds later, and Mater says, "OK, now we are," and the Rimshot Pitty bangs his drums again. The crew arrive back in town, and the Rimshot Pitty bangs his drums after Mater, still in his Stanley costume, says that he's "beside himself," which is Stanley's statue. The crew then wonder where the racers are (as they should be back by now), which the racers are revealed to be lost at dark in a spooky forest instead of the Enchanted Forest, and get scared by the multiple car corpses found around them. As the racers speed back into town, they are humbled by Stanley's bravery - they can't understand how a car like Stanley could have traveled on such a treacherous journey (not knowing that their path was completely different). Mater asks them if they enjoyed their leisurely drive, which Sandy replies that Stanley was "one tough customer." McQueen then responds that Stanley is "the roughest, toughest car in the west" as a ghost of Stanley appears and winks.
- Owen Wilson: Lightning McQueen
- Larry the Cable Guy: Mater
- Steve Purcell: Sandy Dunes
- Jess Harnell: Blue Grit
- John Cygan: Idle Threat
- Danny Mann: Shifty Sidewinder
- Bonnie Hunt: Sally Carrera
- Cheech Marin: Ramone
- Lloyd Sherr: Fillmore
- Katherine Helmond: Lizzie
- Tony Shalhoub: Luigi
- Guido Quaroni: Guido
- Paul Dooley: Sarge
- Jenifer Lewis: Flo
- Michael Wallis: Sheriff
- This is the first Cars Toons episode to have Lightning McQueen voiced by Owen Wilson (his original voice actor from the films) rather than Keith Ferguson.
- The forest in which Lightning McQueen and the Baja pros get lost follows a deleted scene from Cars. In that scene, before arriving in Radiator Springs, Lightning McQueen found himself in a graveyard full of car corpses with trees growing through them, causing him to panic.
- The famous Wilhelm scream is heard when the racers fall down the cliff after the bumpy ground with rocks.
- Sandy's line to McQueen, "How's our dust taste, city boy?" may be a reference to in the first film when Sheriff says to McQueen, "Get a good peek, city boy?" while being "operated" on by Doc Hudson.
- One of the car corpses in the forest closely resembles Doc Hudson.
- Sandy's line to Mater, "What's a Mater?" and Mater saying "Nothin'. What's a Mater with you?" might be a reference to a "Hakuna Matata" scene in The Lion King where Simba says "What's a motto?" and Timon replies "Nothin'. What's a motto with you?".
- The upgrades all-road to McQueen it looks similar to when he races in the Autovia level in Cars: Race-O-Rama.
- This short is on the Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 3 Blu-Ray.
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- Pixar Post - For The Latest Pixar News: Our Exclusive Review of Radiator Springs 500½ - The Characters, the Die Cast Cars & The Details
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