The Days of Thunder vet – and race car buff – shares his passion for driving

By People Staff
Updated February 04, 2009 09:30 AM

Tom Cruise still feels the need for speed.

The actor, 46, shares his love of NASCAR and racing in a new interview set to air on Feb. 6 on ESPN2.

“For me as a kid growing up, I always wanted to race cars,” says Cruise, who starred in the 1990 racing film Days of Thunder. NASCAR, he says, “is a very unique kind of racing that feels very American.”

Filming Days of Thunder at the Daytona International Speedway was especially thrilling. “My personal Daytona memory is getting up close to 200 m.p.h., personally driving on that track in the car,” he says in the interview, which was filmed in December at the NASCAR Sprint Cup Banquet in New York City. “Having that opportunity to drive those cars on the track, meet those drivers that I got to meet.”

The NASCAR season begins this weekend at Daytona International Speedway.
Michelle Tauber