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Ricky Bobby Strikes Back: Dodge, Sony Collab on Film’s Anniversary

New Commercial Celebrates 15th Anniversary of “Talladega Nights,” Features Young Ricky Bobby

lessons learned ricky bobby talladega nights

“Your teacher wants you to go slow, and she’s wrong because it’s the fastest who get paid, and it’s the fastest who get ….”

Fifteen years ago this week, Reese Bobby inspired a generation of grade-schoolers with those iconic words. And today, Dodge gives Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby new life, with help from Sony Pictures. Gary Cole’s back to delivering expert parental advice in his iconic role as the elder Bobby, piloting a shiny new Durango SRT with the kids in the backseat. The commercial, “Life Lessons,” is live now.

Sick of reading about how COVID’s ruining the auto industry? Instead, get all jacked up on Mountain Dew with us and cue up some old-fashioned racin’ buffoonery — er, lessons. 

“Hang on, Baby Jesus, this is gon’ get bumpy!”

In the TV spot, which airs across networks, Reese guns the Hemi Durango through suburban streets, espousing priceless guidance to young Ricky and his buddy Cal Jr. The trio rip-roars through a series of antics as the narrative crackles with call-backs to Talladega Nights lore and guttural engine revving. AC/DC handles the soundtrack with “Shot in the Dark.”

It’s a fun, rollicking ride with Cole in top form and tire smoke billowing. And because racing’s not racing without branding sponsorship, classics from the movie make appearances, like MTN DEW, Applebee’s and Wonder Bread. SPOILER (but not really?) ALERT: there’s even a could-be-pandemic-inspired twist near the end.

“If you ain’t first, you’re last.”

What more could you want? To borrow a phrase from Ricky, the spot veritably “pisses excellence.”

The commercial takes place in 1982. It piggybacks on Dodge’s previous Talladega -inspired spot, 2020’s “Family Motto.” That one was pretty good, but in our opinion, this year’s shiny new rig blows its doors off.

The spot features plenty of new Dodge drip, like the 2021 Widebody Hellcat and Challenger. The headliner Durango is an R/T Blacktop Tow N Go in granite with dual carbon stripes. Dodge also uses the occasion to plug its three 700-plus-horsepower muscle cars: the Challenger SRT Super Stock, Durango SRT Hellcat and Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye.

2021 Dodge Durango SRT Hellcat rear three quarter
Dodge//SRT Introduces the Most Powerful SUV Ever – the 2021 Durango SRT Hellcat delivering 710 horsepower.

And so The Ballad of Ricky Bobby continues. Shoot, given advances in modern science and Ricky’s high-level income, it’s not crazy to think he’ll live to be 245, or maybe 300. 

Sam Anderson
About Sam Anderson

Sam has travelled the United States in an assortment of vehicles, in constant pursuit of adventure and good times. His experiences inform his writing; he often tests and evaluates tool and outdoor, camping, and DIY gear. His two pickup trucks (of which one survives) have been the best adventure companions he could ask for.