NASCAR Bristol 2013: Popularity of viral video surprises Jeff Gordon

Jared Wickerham

While the viral video of Jeff Gordon taking an unsuspecting car salesman for a test may have been staged, the reactions within the video were very much real, the NASCAR driver said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Days after the release of a viral video that has attracted more than 17 million viewers on YouTube, Jeff Gordon is still amazed at the attention the video is generating.

"What a fun experience this has been," Gordon said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "I've never been a part of anything like this; a viral video that's gone to this level. ... Had a lot of fun doing it. And I've had a lot of fun seeing all the things on Twitter and everywhere else, as well as, every time I watch it, I still laugh."

The commercial for Pepsi Max shows Gordon in disguise taking an allegedly duped used car salesman for a test drive, which includes the four-time NASCAR champion whipping donuts, taking high-speed turns and driving up on a loading dock.

There was some initial question about the validity of the video, but the way Gordon sees it, fans shouldn't get too wrapped in the fact that the commercial was staged and instead, just enjoy the finished product for what it is.

"I'm finding out through this experience, that what makes something go viral is when people are debating what's real, what's not," Gordon said. "When people are watching it going I don't care what it is, this is funny.

"It feels good when people are reacting they way that they are."

Because of time constraints, Gordon couldn't do all the stunt driving but feels if given the time he could do 90 percent of what was required. Although the man portraying the car salesman was an actor, his reactions to the wild test drive were genuine.

"This guy was terrified," Gordon said. "It was so much fun with me interacting with him. But then to get to see his reactions in that car when it is sliding sideways -- even if you are a race car driver, being in the passenger seat is uncomfortable when somebody is doing things like that.

"That is what makes it so great. It is like everyone is debating "is it real", "is it fake". I can tell you, those reactions; there was nothing fake about that."

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