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HERBIE: FULLY LOADED

Shooting And Driving On The NASCAR Track
One of America's most popular and fastest-growing spectator sports, NASCAR racing is, for many, the very pinnacle of automobile heaven—and "Herbie the Love Bug” is no exception. When he and Maggie Peyton get a chance to race on a NASCAR speedway, the film ratchets the action up to speeds of 200 mph as Herbie takes on some of NASCAR's most famous drivers and realizes the dream he's been after since the '60s.

Short for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing, NASCAR has won over some 75 million loyal fans with its atmosphere of intoxicating suspense as cars round a track at dizzying speeds within inches of each other—and heroic racers test their skills, strategy and especially their courage in trying to move through the pack to the lead position.

With NASCAR giving full support to Herbie and his new adventure, the filmmakers were committed to bringing the visceral, in-person excitement of a NASCAR race to the movie's audience. But filming live stock-car events can be notoriously tricky, as the cameras, not to mention the crew, have to bravely maneuver their way around cars that could easily obliterate them. Add to that a souped-up-but-pint-sized VW joining the field, and things get a little bit complicated.

The first order of business was sending both cast and crew back to school—driving school, that is. Lindsay Lohan, Justin Long, Breckin Meyer and Matt Dillon, in particular, had to enter into highly advanced versions of Driver's Ed to learn how to accelerate, turn and brake with the best of them. Justin and Breckin were also shipped off to "pit school” to learn how race crews change tires and service steaming-hot cars in seconds flat, helping the drivers accelerate all the way to the victory circle.

From a racing perspective, Lindsay Lohan was starting from zero—she didn't even know how to use a stick shift before she was cast! But that didn't last long. "I was excited because I finally learned how to drive a stick,” she laughs. "But I also learned so much more—how to take tight turns around cones and lots of cool stuff like that. I kind of have a lead foot to begin with, so it was a lot of fun to really go for it.”

Still, when Lohan was taken for a trip around the track at 160 mph by a trained driver—an exhilarating rocket ride that had her simultaneously grinning and screaming the whole way— she got a whole new perspective on just how tough a real NASCAR racer like Maggie Peyton has to be. "You have no idea what it's really like inside a NASCAR race car until you try it!” notes Lindsay. "They're going so fast, and they sweat so much that they lose like 8 pounds every time they do a race. I used a ventilated suit with ice-cold water running through it in the movie because I thought I was going to sweat to death. I really gained a lot of respect for the racers because what they go through is so amazing.”

Says Angela Robinson of Lohan's driving performance: "Lindsay turned out to be totally bold, because it's a big thing getting behind the wheel of a race car. It's risky and it's scary, but she had such a great attitude. She not only had to learn to drive in a racing style, but she also had to learn to drive the '63 VW Beetle with all its crazy quirks!”

Matt Dillon was also wowed by his brief introduction to stock-car racing. "Another thing you don't realize is how claustrophobic it is inside those cars,” he explains. "It's incredibly fun once you're moving, but being all strapped in like that, sometimes you feel like you're entombed. You also have to be so incredibly focused. One thing I learned is that if you start thinking about something else for even a second—like what you're going to have for dinner—the next thing you know, you might be hitting the wall! So you really have to concentrate.”

Sums up Breckin Meyer: "It's pretty intense. It's loud,

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