(KDVR) — Perhaps it was just too good to be true.
A video showing NASCAR racer Jeff Gordon taking a terrified car salesman on a wild test drive in a Chevy Camaro as part of a prank commercial advertising Pepsi MAX is now being called entirely staged.
Snopes.com, which debunks Internet rumors, calls the video a fake prank (forgive the double negative).
“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,” the website said.
The Concord Independent Tribune reported racer Brad Noffsinger in fact did the driving in the video. Noffsinger works for the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Actors played all the parts, while Troutman employees watched, the newspaper reported.
“Everyone involved in the production singed confidentiality agreements and aren’t allowed to talk about it,” the newspaper wrote.
Jalopnik.com broke down lots of different elements about the ad, noting that the supposedly new Camaro has an ’09 sticker on the windshield, when there were no Camaro’s made in 2009. The interior of the car fits the 2013 Camaro model.
Jalopnik also noted there were several skid marks near where the car was parked indicating burnouts were done there.
The salesman, identified only as Steve, hasn’t commented on the prank — likely because of the confidentially agreement. An unnamed source told the site that Steve is in fact an actor.
That would make sense considering the potential liability issues with filming a prank like this.
“Liability issues also make it virtually impossible that the passenger shown in the video could have been an unsuspected car salesman,” Snopes wrote. Steve “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 ground for major lawsuits.”
The YouTube video has more than 7.5 million views as of Thursday afternoon.