Claim: Video shows Jeff Gordon pranking a car salesman with a wild test drive.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, March 2013]
Is this a true prank or just a commerical (fake prank) about jeff gordon taking a test drive with a man.
Origins: This video showing NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon going to a car dealership in disguise and taking an unsuspecting car salesman on the test drive of his life hit the Internet in mid-March 2013. It's not a video that captures a real-life prank played on a hapless used car salesman, however, but rather
a promotional spot for the Pepsi MAX soft drink brand that was filmed at Troutman Motors in Concord, North Carolina, and employed about 75 people in its staging. Racer Brad Noffsinger, who works with the Richard Petty Driving Experience, did the stunt work for the production, and the video was produced by Gifted You, a division of Will Ferrell’s Funny or Die company. The shoot was set up with the dealership in advance and used a new high-performance car supplied for that purpose (rather than a used vehicle selected off the lot).
To believe this video really captured a prank played on an unsuspecting car lot employee, we'd have to believe, among other implausibilities, that "Steve" the salesman utterly failed to recognize that the used 2009 Chevy Camaro he was supposedly trying to sell to Jeff Gordon (a vehicle type that doesn't even exist, as the current Chevrolet Camaro skipped the 2009 model year) was really a brand new 2013 Camaro. Also, as noted at Jalopnik:
If you look at the area where the car sets out from, there sure are a lot of tire marks like repeated burnouts were done there. My source that was on site told me that was because they did multiple takes for everything.
During the entire drive, there isn't one shot of Jeff Gordon driving the car. We see him put the camera in at the beginning and turn it towards the passenger. At the end when he parks the car, the camera is suddenly back on Gordon. That's because Gordon didn't drive the car, according to our tipster. I have no doubt that Gordon is an excellent driver, but I was told that [Brad] Noffsinger did all of the slides, burnouts, and other stunt driving for the film.
Liability issues also make it virtually impossible that the passenger shown in the video could have been an unsuspecting car salesman who was taken on unexpected wild ride with Jeff Gordon (without the use of any additional safety equipment, to boot). If "Steve" were a real employee of the dealership (rather than an actor) who was actually present in the car during filming, he would had to have been informed in advance about the nature of the shoot and have signed a release prior to participating — otherwise, he would have grounds for major lawsuits against both the dealership and the production company if he had been harmed in the process.