Jeff Gordon breaks barriers

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Jeff Gordon greeted fans during driver introductions before the Daytona 500 in February. The driver stars in a popular YouTube video released last week.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Jeff Gordon greeted fans during driver introductions before the Daytona 500 in February. The driver stars in a popular YouTube video released last week.

By now just about everyone has seen the Test Drive video where Jeff Gordon shocks a car salesman with a tire-squealing, high-speed test drive.

According to YouTube, the video has had more than 27 million views in the week following its release, pushing NASCAR away from the race track and into the social media arena.

While Gordon’s viral video was created to sell more Pepsi Max, it was another successful attempt by the four-time champion to step outside stock car’s traditional boundaries.

His divorce in 2002 was covered by television celebrity gossip shows like Entertainment Tonight. In 2003 he became the first NASCAR driver to be a host on Saturday Night Live.

And a month ago his Hendrick Motorsports race team filmed their version of the Harlem Shake and posted it online.

But nothing compares to his Test Drive video.

“I’ve never been a part of anything like this; a viral video that’s gone to this level,” Gordon said. “Of course we did the Harlem Shake. We actually did that around the same time. I never dreamed that this would surpass that in views, and get this much attention.”

Gordon walked onto a car lot in the video wearing a disguise. The salesman convinced him to test drive a 2009 Chevrolet Camaro. After acting like the car was too big and too fast, Gordon eventually peeled out of the parking lot and gave the salesman one of the scariest rides of his life.

A couple of the highlights in the 3-minute, 46-second video is the salesman screaming for his life, calling Gordon an “idiot” and yelling he was responsible for any damages.

Part of the drive included a couple near misses with an oncoming car.

Gordon said it was his idea to push Pepsi Max to think outside the box with some of their advertising campaigns.

Although he’s considered a world class driver, a stunt driver was used in some of the filming.

While Gordon’s part was staged, the reaction of the salesman wasn’t, Gordon said. That’s why the video quickly became
viral.

“Those reactions were real. I mean, this guy was terrified. It was so much fun with me interacting with him,” Gordon said.

Upon seeing the finished product, “I laughed my butt off to be honest,” Gordon said.

“I’ve watched it probably six or eight times, and every time I’ve just cracked up,” he said.


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