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How Jeff Gordon fooled the Web (and wasn't even Jeff Gordon)

The famed NASCAR driver supposedly went on a normal test drive and frightened the life out of the dealer. The Web loved it. The deception, however, was in the details.

Well, that's Jeff Gordon. But he didn't drive the car.
Pepsi Max/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

When the Web gets excited, it can lose its faculties.

These might be critical or merely observational, but the effect can be comical.

Over the last couple of days, millions have been enthralled by a Pepsi Max video which, as they say, went viral.

It purported to show race driver Jeff Gordon putting on a disguise and going to a car dealer to test drive a 2009 Chevy Camaro.

He even put on glasses equipped with a camera. Yes, it made him look even more elegant than anyone wearing Google's future goggles.

Then, claiming to be Mike, he took Steve the car dealer for a ride.

You can imagine just how exciting that ride was.

Steve became increasingly pale and disoriented, as Gordon, aka Mike, showed him his skills.

People wanted to believe this was for real. Because people like Jeff Gordon a lot and don't really like car dealers that much at all.

However, those who are truly sanguine about cars -- regardless of the provocation -- are those who obsess about them in their dreams.

Jalopnik, for example, pointed out a few discrepancies that may have made gullible travelers weep.

The dealership, Troutman Motors in North Carolina, does have a Steve working there -- just not this Steve.

And then there's the driving. We would all want to believe that a man who makes a living bashing past, into, and through other cars would have done the stunt driving.

Sadly, Jalopnik, relying on the sources of North Carolina's Independent Tribune, says that the stunts were performed by Brad Noffsinger, who works with the Richard Petty Driving Experience.

I wonder whether Gordon's insurers contributed to that decision. In any case, there are no shots of Gordon actually driving the car. That might have been a clue.

There were, also, a few slight missteps. Chevy didn't make a Camaro in 2009. Perhaps they were too busy staving off bankruptcy or something.

And I am sure the extremely sharp-eyed and car-loving will have noticed that the interior is a 2013 Camaro.

Some might fancifully wonder, however, just how many people might this weekend go out on a test drive and attempt some of the little maneuvers performed by Not Jeff Gordon.

The Web can often be such an inspiration.