Lightning McQueen and his racing academy are in a race with their rivals. At the end of the race, the other academy crashed the Doc Hudson Racing Academy. Lightning saw what happened, and realized that the other academy belonged to Chick Hicks. Chick told Lightning that if he wins the Race-O-Rama series, the Doc Hudson Racing Academy will be shut down, everyone would go to the Chick Hicks Racing Academy, and Lightning would have to leave town.
Lightning decides to customize himself for the different races.
Meanwhile, in Ornament Valley, in front of the Rustbucket Stadium, Mater meets his old rivals, Bubba, Tater, and Tater Jr., who reminded him of when they agreed to race in the Rustbucket Stadium for the towing rights in Radiator Springs.
Lightning McQueen arrives at Santa Carburera with some modifications, his racing academy, and a few of his friends from Radiator Springs. They race a few races, then came the final race in Santa Carburera. Lightning and Flo were lined up at the starting line, then Chick came, and introduced them to Candice. They raced through Santa Carburera. However, Candice loses, so she called her dad for new everything, and he agrees to give what she want to her. Candice drove away to go shopping.
For the next round, Lightning arrives in Autovia with his racing Academy and Sarge. Meanwhile, the Chick Hicks Racing Academy went through the MotorCo. building, where they became VINs. Lightning and his racing academy raced through Autovia with the VINs and the Chick Hicks Racing Academy. In the final race, Lightning and Sarge meet El Machismo, who Chick introduced to. However, El Machismo also loses the race, so he gets angry, and blames Chick and MotorCo. for it, so he asks for bigger everything. He was acting more of a sore loser than Chick.
After that, Lightning with some more new modifications went with his racing academy and Ramone to the city of Motoropolis City. The races were at night, with all the big lights on. They and the Chick Hicks Racing Academy raced through the city street of Motoropolis City. In the final race, Chick introduced Stinger to Lightning and Ramone. They raced, and Stinger lost as well. Chick couldn't believe that not even a muscle car could beat Lightning! Chick got so angry, so he said to Stinger, "What do you have to say for yourself?" However, Stinger just drove away. There was only one more round in the Race-O-Rama series.
In Radiator Springs; Mater, Bubba, Tater, and Tater Jr. raced in the Rustbucket Stadium for the towing rights to Radiator Springs. Mater won the race, making Bubba mad. However, Tater and Tater Jr. weren't mad, because Mater was their new friend, and he won, and their names rhyme, so they think they also won. Bubba drove away, saying he will get his revenge on Mater, even if it's the last thing he does.
Lightning McQueen and Chick Hicks went back to Radiator Springs Speedway for the final races in the Race-O-Rama. Lightning raced against Candice, El Machismo, Stinger, and the VINs in one race. Then came the final showdown. Chick decided to use modifications, and he used all the modifications that Lightning used. However, Lightning also got some new modifications. Chick reveals that he was only using Candice, El Machismo, Stinger, and the VINs to learn how to beat Lightning. The race started, and it was a long race.
Lightning won the race, and the Race-O-Rama trophy. Chick drove up to Lightning, and said that he should've entered the Race-O-Rama by himself. Lightning tries to teach Chick that there is more to racing than winning, and that if he learns that, he won't be alone anymore. However, Chick doesn't listen to Lightning, and he drives away, vowing his revenge on Lightning.
Then, Candice, El Machismo, and Stinger came to Lightning, and apologized for how they behaved in the Race-O-Rama. Lightning accepts their apology, and invites them to come to the Doc Hudson Racing Academy any time.
- Main article: Cars Race-O-Rama Characters
- Main article: Cars Race-O-Rama Events
- This is the first Cars game where the open world is not limited to Radiator Springs, Ornament Valley, and Tailfin Pass.
- This is the 2nd game that doesn't have the Radiator Springs Theme as the menu music. The first one is Cars: Radiator Springs Adventures.
- The PlayStation 2 version of the game has a a lot of differences from the game on other consoles.
- On the PlayStation 2, each race has only 4 racers. On other consoles, each race has 8 racers, except the Monster Truck Races, which have 6.
- The PlayStation 2 has only 2 Point to Point Races, while other consoles have 5. Point to Point 2 and Point to Point 5 are Point to Point 1 and Point to Point 2 on the PlayStation 2 respectively.
- On the Wii, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360, all 4 of the students from both the Doc Hudson Racing Academy and Chick Hicks Racing Academy are playable characters. On the PlayStation 2, only the first student from each academy is playable.
- You don't have to wait for Ornament Valley and Tailfin Pass to load each time you go there from Radiator Springs, except on the PlayStation 2.
- On the PlayStation 2, Relay Races have 2 teams with 2 racers on each team. On other consoles, there are 4 teams each with 3 racers.
- Some of the paint jobs and kit-parts are missing on the PlayStation 2.
- Bubba, Tater, and Tater Jr. are playable in Circuit Races, Relay Races, Auto Cross, Missions, and Rustbucket Derby on the Wii, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but not on the PlayStation 2. You can only play them in Rustbucket Derby on the PlayStation 2.
- The cars that drive around drive on a lot more roads in Radiator Springs, Ornament Valley, and Tailfin Pass outside the PlayStation 2. They even drive from one location to another.
- Although E.J. Holowicki and Lou Romano returned for the game, DJ and Snot Rod do not appear.
- This game is very different compared to its two prequels, Cars: The Video Game and Cars Mater-National.
- A race in Cars: The Video Game and Cars Mater-National would usually have 5 racers, but a race in Cars Race-O-Rama usually has 8 racers (except the PlayStation 2 version, which has 4 racers).
- The open world environment is limited to Radiator Springs, Ornament Valley, and Tailfin Pass in the first two games; but there are more locations to explore in Cars Race-O-Rama.
- Cars Race-O-Rama was never released on the PC or Gameboy Advance, while the first two games were.
- In the first two games, you would buy paint jobs and pictures with points; but on Race-O-Rama, you unlock the paint jobs and pictures by winning races.
- Characters like Fletcher, Gerald, Vince, Barry, Sonny, and Lenny from Cars: The Video Game return in Cars Mater-National; but not in Cars Race-O-Rama.
- None of the music from the first two games return in this game.
- This game is not to be confused with the ride. NOTE: This ride is not a licenced Cars product.
- On the PlayStation 2 version of the game, Guido always looks left when he turns right, and looks right when he turns left.
- Also on the PlayStation 2, in the Tokyo Mater level, Mater says his winning phrase twice. This also makes Mia and Tia not say their phrases.
- The Ornament Valley Airport from the previous game does not appear at all in this game, but it appears in Cars 2. However, it's possible that the cars left in a different airport. Also, most of the rest of the new stuff in Cars Mater-National do not return in this game.