Jeff Gordon has taken another unsuspecting passenger on the ride of his life, and this time he says it’s for real. While it’s true that a stunt driver and an actor were used in the first video, even Gordon’s victim, blogger Travis Okulski says this was definitely not bogus.
It was 11 months ago that Gordon donned a disguise and seemingly took an innocent car salesman on a terror-filled test drive that was shown to the world in a Pepsi Max television commercial. Cries of “fake” rang out on the internet far and wide, with Okulski one of the loudest. That made the decision on Gordon’s next victim easy. Okulski would be the next target.
The setup was elaborate. Okulski would fly to Charlotte, NC under the impression that he would get a first-hand look at the new Corvette Z06. The premise was that this viewing was top-secret, and lots of money was at stake if word got out. Okulski took the bait, kept quiet and waited outside his Charlotte motel for a taxi driver who would take him to the “meeting place.”
Gordon went all out for his disguise donning a hat, a wig, sunglasses and even a neck tattoo. Once Okulski was in the cab and Gordon had asked him to buckle his seat belt, it didn’t take long for the driver to bring up his “checkered past.” When Okulski mentioned that he was from New Jersey, Gordon matter-of-factly mentions that he “did some time with a guy from Jersey one time…” It is at this point when Okulski starts showing visible signs of unease. It would only get more uncomfortable for the blogger from that point on.
It isn’t long before Gordon glances in the rearview mirror and notices that a police car is in back of him, further setting the hook by telling his passenger that he “gets a little nervous” when he’s being followed by the cops. When the lights and siren on the police car are activated, Gordon’s character gets really nervous as he turns the car onto a side road and pulls over. At this point Okulski shows nothing more than a look of bemusement, oblivious to the fact that it’s almost time for Jeff Gordon to make it real.
Things get serious quickly when the officer stays in his car and directs the occupants of the taxi, through his PA system, to roll down the windows and show him their hands. The plot thickens as Okulski realizes that his window will not roll down, and his door is locked. Announcing “I can’t, I can’t go back” Gordon flips the car into drive, and Okulski is pinned to the back seat in terror, alternately screaming “Stop” and kicking at the plastic divider that separates the front seat from the back.
As Gordon bumps and fishtails the cab through an old abandoned warehouse district, his horrified rider is beside himself. He even pulls out his cell phone, holding it in his hand while bouncing around the back, never once getting stable enough to make a call. When Gordon announces “I’m going to lose this guy,” Okulski objects “It never works, it never works,” exclaiming minutes later “Sir, just unlock the door and let me out.”
The fun eventually ends with Gordon pulling into one of the warehouses where a Pepsi Max welcoming party conveniently awaits. The 4-time NASCAR champ steps out of the car, frees his captive, strips his disguise and the reveal is complete. Gordon’s latest prank is safe and sound and now on the internet for the world to judge. This time, Jeff Gordon promises, it’s for real.
By Chuck Podhaisky