I keep to myself in cabs. But one thing that gets my attention is a driver with a neck tattoo telling me that he just got out of jail after 10 years and that the cop behind is making him nervous. And especially when he starts a police chase while yelling "I can't go back." I thought this was the end.
Nope. This is how NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon gets revenge.
I had a conversation with the boss, Matt Hardigree, in mid-January. An opportunity had come up. A chance to get in the brand new Corvette Z06 (aka 'Big Nasty') before anyone else, even most people at GM, had gotten a chance. I thought it was a bit odd because I knew development work on the Z06 had just started, but the marketing side of the car business is far different than the PR side. Maybe they had a preproduction show car filming an ad early, it happens. We get a lot of interesting opportunities, so this was the sort of thing where I didn't ask any questions and just said I'd do it.
So I flew to Charlotte where I was told that the Z06 was being filmed for an ad series that would happen before Top Gear USA. Ray Wert, former EIC of Jalopnik and current tall-man about town, was working on the ad and was setting up the drive. I was told that if anybody found out what I was doing, including the hosts of Top Gear, he could stand to lose a substantial sum of money. So I kept it totally quiet and only told my parents exactly what I was doing. My coworkers knew I was going away, but Matt and I agreed we wouldn't tell them what it was for.
Ray picked me up at the airport and took me to the hotel in the middle of nowhere, nearish to Rockingham Speedway, where he was filming. We talked about the car and how excited we were to get some time with it. Early the next morning he heads to the track, leaving me alone in possibly the worst...
To continue reading the back story of Travis' experience leading up to the infamous filming of Pepsi MAX's Test Drive 2 commercial, click here.