Cal, Ricky and Girard were all actually introduced during driver introductions at the 2005 UAW Ford 500 at Talladega. Ricky and Cal were cheered, but when Girard was introduced as a driver from France driving the Perrier car, the entire crowd started booing without any prompting.
Wonder Bread, Old Spice, and Perrier were not charged for their product placement in the movie. Old Spice and Wonder Bread promoted the movie through back-end deals while Perrier was not required to take any action despite its presence in the movie. In addition, Ferrell showed up to many public appearances in his Wonder Bread uniform at no additional charge to the company.
NASCAR officials objected to the original title of Talladega Nights, so the working title was then changed to the name of the production company, High, Wide, and Handsome. Loud and Proud also was considered. Following a brief phase in which the movie did not have a title, the film eventually reverted to its original title.
The young woman who plays the artist during the brunch scene at the French driver's house is actually the artist of that painting. She was commissioned to do the painting and was then asked if she would play the artist in the film.
Based on the league patches on the drivers' uniforms, it is implied that the first part of the movie takes place in 2003 and the latter in 2004. This comes from the drivers wearing Winston Cup emblems, which was last used in 2003 before Nextel took over the Cup sponsorship in 2004.
When Ricky gets out of the hospital and sees that Jean Girard has replaced him as the lead driver the song that can be heard is "Marie Douceur, Marie Colère", sung in French by Marie Laforêt to the tune of The Rolling Stones' "Paint It, Black".
Some of the big car crash stunts were done for real, using explosive jacks that were later erased using computer graphics. The pipe and plate footing for the gag are shown falling away from the car(s) in un-processed scenes.
The character Ricky Bobby inspired a hip-hop song and national dance craze 'Do the Ricky-Bobby' started from a rapper named B-hamp from Texas. The dance has inspired tons of amateur videos showing their best Ricky Bobby dance including Cincinnati football player Ochocinco showcasing his best moves.
Jean Girard is said to have dominated the Formula One circuit, followed by a clip of the sport. The black F1 car which is supposed to be Jean is Gianmaria Bruni's Minardi Cosworth PS04B (now Scuderia Toro Rosso) and a backmarker, while the blue car following closely is the Mild Seven Renault F1 R24 of Jarno Trulli coming around to lap him at the 2004 Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring. Ironically, Minardi has never had a podium finish in its history.
The car driven by Reese Bobby is an homage to Curtis Turner's 1967 Daytona 500 car designed by Smokey Yunick. This car was a 7/8 scale model of a regular Chevelle that enable Turner to have an advantage on the field. The car was banned by NASCAR thus starting Smokey's tenuous relationship with NASCAR.
In the movie, Jamie McMurray drives the #42 car and Ricky Bobby drives the #26. Following the 2004 season, Jamie McMurray left the #42 team to take over the #97 - which was then changed to the #26. The old spice car which is driven by Cal Naughton Jr is actually driven by Tony Stewart in the Nascar Busch Series.
The trivia item below may give away important plot points.
The scene after Ricky and Jean's wreck on the final lap at Talladega where they ran on foot to finish the race was filmed prior to driver intros for the 2005 Food World 300 ARCA RE/MAX Series race. The cameras were set at specific angles so they wouldn't capture the ARCA cars lined up on pit road.