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‘Cars’ on the fast track

On Wednesday, they were whizzing around the track at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte, No. Carolina as Disney and Pixar were readying for Friday’s premiere of “Cars” on the speedway site. Sure, Paul Newman was behind the wheel of the (replica of) a 1951 Hudson Hornet. He’s the voice of “Doc,” the Hudson Hornet in the movie. But Newman wasn’t the only speedster on the track — Disney’s Dick Cook, driving a Chevy Monte Carlo was reportedly hitting 151 m.p.h. And watching all the above was race car legend Richard Perry Petty — he’s one of the voices in the movie and a hefty supporter of one of Newman’s Hole-In-The-Wall-Gang camps nearby. (Newman would rather talk about car racing than movies.) Press arrived from all points for this one-and-only premiere.

Hollywood will bow “Cars” with an invitational showing June 3.

Also attending Friday’s North Carolina preem is the Hollywood Bowl’s Music Director John Mauceri. Dick Cook invited him. Mauceri and the Bowl have presented many programs over the years combining the music of Disney epix and movie clips. This year, “Fantasia” gets Bowl’d Aug.18-19 with the music-film combo. Another major reason for Mauceri’s appearance: he is Chancellor-Elect of the School of the arts of the U. of North Carolina. On June 5, in L.A. Mauceri welcomes the 2006 filmmaking students of the N.C. school and their films will be shown at the DGA to Hollywood agents, producers and directors.

Movies, music and motor cars, it’s a hot time in Charlotte, this week.

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