Cal, Ricky, and Girard were all 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 Jean Girard's (Sacha Baron Cohen'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.
Ricky yelling for Tom Cruise as one of the religious figures who should help him is a dual reference to Cruise's movie Days of Thunder (1990), also about a stock car driver who loses his ability to drive, and to Cruise's heavy involvement in the Church of Scientology. John C. Reilly also appeared in Days of Thunder (1990), though not a racecar driver, he is a primary member of Cruise' pit crew.
When Ricky (Will Ferrell) meets Reese Bobby (Gary Cole) for the first time as an adult, Reese is drinking Laughing Clown Malt Liquor, which is the sponsor of Ricky's car when he first becomes a driver.
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".
The car driven by Reese Bobby (Gary Cole) 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 enabled Turner to have an advantage on the field. The car was banned by NASCAR, thus starting Smokey's tenuous relationship with NASCAR.
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.
Ricky Bobby inspired the hip-hop song "Do the Ricky Bobby" by B-Hamp and its corresponding dance move. Many videos of people performing the dance move were released, including one by Cincinnati football player Chad Johnson.
At the Pit Stop bar, Jean Girard asks Ricky Bobby, "Well, what have you given the world apart from George Bush, Cheerios, and the Thigh Master." Throughout his career, Will Ferrell has been known for his George W. Bush impression.
Jean Girard (Sacha Baron Cohen) 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.
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 names of Ricky's two children, "Walker" and "Texas Ranger," are taken from the television show Walker, Texas Ranger (1993). The show starred action film actor Chuck Norris, who has become something of a "country deity."
When Ricky first "goes fast" after hijacking the station wagon, was filmed in downtown Lowell, North Carolina. Nearly passing the Choice beverage company where Sundrop and Cheerwine soda is distributed.
During the restaurant scene where Ricky meets again with Susan (Amy Adams) and she crawls across the table toward Ricky Bobby (Will Ferrell) and starts kissing him, he says "this is like that Whitesnake video where the girl crawls on...". The video Ricky Bobby is referring to is the one for Whitesnake's 1987 smash hit 'Here I Go Again", a song that is heavily featured in Old School, another Will Ferrell movie.
The trivia items 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.
Following Ricky's big crash, Cal confesses to posing nude for Playgirl under the pseudonym "Mike Honcho". Coincidentally, John C. Reilly played Reed Rothchild (a 1970s pornstar) in Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights (1997).