Filmed at small dirt ovals throughout the Southern U.S. and set at the 1959 NASCAR Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway — with footage shot at the event itself with star Rory Calhoun actually racing some actual laps — this stock car racing movie is a favorite of Quentin Tarantino. He said of the film, “There are some fun Southern ones too. Rory Calhoun did a movie called Thunder in Carolina where a driver teaches his mechanic how to race.”
If you love early TV, then this movie is perfect for you, because the Skipper (Alan Hale Jr.) and Connie Post from Mr. Ed (Connie Hines) are both in it.
Anyways, Calhoun plays Mitch Cooper, who teaches his mechanic Les (John Gentry) how to race cars but falls for his protege’s wife (Hines), which ends up an injured Mitch racing the big one against his former friend, who now is on the team of an unfeeling rich guy.
Paul Helmick only directed this film and Teenage Thunder, but was the assistant director on everything from Hello, Dolly! and Rio Bravo to Marty, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and To Have and Have Not.
You can watch this on Amazon Prime.