Tom Cruise's film brought NASCAR racing to the masses, and Mindscape did the same for games players with this license. If you mentally change the driver names, it can be thought of as a recreation of real NASCAR racing rather than a direct recreation of the film.
You play Cruise's Cole Trickle character (his name, like many of the others, is slightly different to that of a real NASCAR racer of the day) against your rivals on 5 tracks. The races are all on ovals, although the exact lengths, corner types and gradients are varied. This means that the ideal racing line on one track can put you into the wall on another. Qualifying and practice are incorporated alongside the races themselves.