As the Piston Cup season progresses, Lightning McQueen, now a multiple champion in this competition and a true legend of racing, finds himself in the shadow of Jackson Storm, an arrogant rookie that belongs to a new generation of pilots using state-of-the-art technology to improve your performance. Lightning’s veteran colleagues either withdrew from work, or they were trampled dead by their sponsors to be replaced by new-generation pilots.
He stays behind in the last race of the season and as he tries to catch them he loses control and suffers a nearly fatal violent accident that leaves him seriously injured. Four months later, as he recovers in Radiator Springs after the violent accident, Lightning sees the images of the accident that ended his late mentor’s career, Doc Hudson. He tells his lover, Sally Carrera, that he does not want to be forced to retire as was Doc and decides to start training again to return to competition.
Rusty and Dusty, the owners of Lightning’s racing team, send him to a newly-opened racing center, which amazes him. When he gets there, he finds out that his team has been sold to a new patron named Sterling, and he puts him to work with coach Cruz Ramirez. Lightning eventually loses patience and enrages Cruz’s working methods and tries to use a high-performance racing simulator but causes severe damage to the equipment.