Dale Earnhardt Jr. has many titles – driver, owner, entrepreneur, racing enthusiast. And now prankster.
Last month the eight-time NASCAR Most Popular Driver and winner of more than 40 NASCAR-sanctioned races took control of a sponsor video production and steered it a way nobody saw coming. Wanting to liven up the set, he concocted the idea to bring JR Motorsports employees into what they thought was an interview detailing the myriad roles of a racing organization. They soon discovered the boss was creating a comedic moment at their expense, and the end result is a viral video Suave has now tagged on JR Motorsports’ YouTube channel for fans to enjoy. (Click here to watch Dale Jr. Snake Prank video on YouTube.)
To create an informal feel to the interview, Earnhardt Jr. encouraged each employee to grab a drink from a nearby cooler and sip it while answering questions about their role at JR Motorsports. What they found when reaching into the cooler, however, was a large snake. The snake was not real, of course, but the reactions very much were.
“Aric Almirola’s reaction was my favorite,” Earnhardt Jr. said with a laugh. “I’ve got some buddies who do this prank at the Charlotte Auto Fair each year. They take a cooler, set it beside the road and post a sign on it that says ‘Free Drinks’. Then they just sit back and watch people scream and run and carry on, and they’ll laugh at ’em all day. It’s a lot of fun, and I appreciate Suave letting me do it.”
Almirola, driver of the JR Motorsports No. 88 Chevrolet, was just one of Earnhardt Jr.’s victims. Almirola’s crew chief Tony Eury Sr. also took the bait, as did No. 7 crew chief and JR Motorsports co-owner Tony Eury Jr.
“I knew the Eurys wouldn’t go running out of the building or anything like that, because they’re country boys who’ve probably come across hundreds of snakes in their lifetime,” Earnhardt Jr. said. “But I got ’em to flinch. That’s all I needed. I’ll get mileage out of that.”
Unilever’s Suave Men brand turned to Hammerhead Entertainment, the production company owned by Earnhardt Jr., to edit the footage and produce a viral video 1:37 in length. Aside from promoting its Men’s hair care and body wash brand, which will appear on Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 7 Chevrolet this Saturday in the NASCAR Nationwide race at Talladega Superspeedway, the video also shows a behind-the-scenes look at Earnhardt Jr. that fans don’t often get a chance to see.
Saturday’s Aaron’s 312 at Talladega will mark Earnhardt Jr.’s third Nationwide Series race in 2011. In his first two events, the JR Motorsports driver/owner finished fourth at Daytona on Feb. 19 and third at Bristol on March 19. The Aaron’s 312 will be broadcasted live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. ET and Motor Racing Network at 2:30 p.m. ET.