The film is plenty fine as dumb fun, even if you have no real working knowledge of stock car racing.

When I got into NASCAR (whilst with The Ex...who was into NASCAR), I saw the movie through a different lens: you know, the one where you as the new expert hate everything that they get wrong about REAL NASCAR. But it didn’t change the fact that the movie was still dumb fun. All of the stock (hyuk hyuk) accolades and criticisms do apply:

It’s Top Gun with race cars...which is awesome.

Sure, it’s got Tom Cruise and Robert Duvall, but it also has Michael Rooker, Randy Quaid, and young Nicole Kidman. Awesome.

Fun to watch racing scenes...awesome.

There’s an impromptu demolition derby that turns enemies into awesome.

It’s not REAL stock car racing. Eh.

As far as grizzled-old-mentor-arrogant-young-hot-shot stories goes, it’s very rote. Eh.

The cameos by actual NASCAR stars of the day feel nice, but in the end, aren’t really worth much. Eh.

All the standard choices to like or dislike Days of Thunder...but at the end of the day, I don’t see how anyone can not laugh at every radio exchange between Cole and Harry. You can hate every other moment in the film, but Harry’s little snipes are moments of perfect and pure joy that everyone in the world can take delight in. “Now you’re welcome to come on in and get one, but I don’t think NASCAR would think much of you trying to eat an ice cream cone out there...”