Doc informs the news crews to Lightning's whereabouts, and he is picked up in time for the big race, leaving his new friends behind.
Lightning doesn't have his single-minded killer instinct anymore, and quickly gets distracted in the early stages of the race thinking about Sally - spinning off the track.
Suddenly he hears a familiar voice from his pit crew - Doc has taken the role of Crew Chief and calls him in for a pep talk. Reinvigorated, Lightning races at his best to lap the other two and get himself back in the race. The crowd pick up that the Husdon Hornet is back and sound their appreciation of the former champ.
Approaching Chick Hicks, he is bumped, and uses Mater's trick to drive backwards - but then a second time the bad dude uses dirty tricks and rubs hard against Lightning's tyres until they pop.
There's a yellow flag out and Lightning makes his way into the pit. Guido, in one of the most moving animated scenes ever, changes all 4 tyres in record time - by himself. Chick Hick's pit crew drop their moustaches in disbelief.
Lightning roars out of the pit and just makes it in front of the pace car, to save himself from being a lap down.
On the last lap Lightning makes a move for the lead. Chick hits him again and Lightning falls towards the dirt - but using's Doc's technique he glides and takes pole position. Chick Hicks refuses to come in behind The King, so hits him hard and wrecks the champion's car.
Lightning notices the carnage on the big screen and slams on the breaks. He stops just before the finishign line. Chick Hicks roars past to take the chequered flag.
Lightning reverses and pushes The King over the finishing line - so that he won't be forgotten like Doc many years before.
The crowd love him for it. The Dinoco sponsor wants Lightning on board, even though he didn't win - but Lightning decides to stay loyal to the Rusteze boys. He does ask for one favour though - that Mater can get his ride in the Dinoco helicopter.
Radiator Springs suddenly is back on the map again. Michael Schumacher's Ferrari makes a stop at Luigi's for new tyres, being recommended by Lightning. The rest of the town booms with new business. Sarge has a new 4x4 Boot Camp. Flo's Diner is busier than ever. The road hogs from before are caught speeding by the Sheriff and put to work with Bessie.
There is now a museum in town showcasing Doc Hudson's career, with Mater as the guide. Lightning and Doc still race each other on the dirt - where Doc still wins!
Lightning and Sally reopen the Wheel Well Motel. The Drive-in Theater is also reopened - where they enjoy Toy Car Story and Monster Trucks Inc. Mack realises that all the voices are the same.
Right at the very end, we still see the Minivan couple, hopelessly lost in the desert, trying to find the interstate.