John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, will drive a 2017 Toyota Camry pace car to kick off the Toyota/Save Mart 350 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup race at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 25.
Lasseter, a Sonoma resident, made his directorial debut in 1995 with Toy Story, the world's first feature-length computer-animated film, for which he received a Special Achievement Academy Award®. He also directed A Bug's Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Cars (2006) and Cars 2 (2011).
Lasseter has supervised production for all Pixar features since Monsters, Inc. (2001), including the studio's eight Academy Award®-winners Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Ratatouille (2007), WALL•E (2008), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), BRAVE (2012) and Inside Out (2015).
Most recently, Lasseter served as the executive producer on Cars 3¸which debuted in theatres on June 16. To further celebrate the premiere of the racing feature, comedian and actress Cristela Alonzo, the voice of the film's elite trainer Cruz Ramirez, has been named Grand Marshal of the Toyota/Save Mart 350.
"Road to the Races," a nationwide tour inviting fans of #95 Lightning McQueen to gear up for the big-screen release, will conclude its 27-city tour at Sonoma Raceway during NASCAR weekend. Life-sized versions of three of the movie's stars will roll into the track to celebrate the latest movie from Pixar Animation Studios.
"I'm so excited to be driving the pace car for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 this weekend," said Lasseter. "It's an honor to lead these amazing drivers, around my hometown track--Sonoma Raceway. This is where we first started our research on the racing world for CARS. I can't wait! "
Lasseter served as Grand Marshal of the Sonoma NASCAR event in 1999, but this will mark the first time he will act as the Official Pace Car Driver at a Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event. He will also be recognized during the Pre-Race Show, powered by Friedman's Home Improvement and greet each NASCAR driver on stage during driver introductions.
Tickets are still available for the Toyota/Save Mart 350, which marks NASCAR's only visit to Northern California. For tickets or more information, visit www.sonomaraceway.com/NASCAR or call 800-870-7223.
-- Sonoma Raceway --