By Dave Crawley

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon has notched 87 victories in his two decades on the tour.

Tuesday afternoon, he showed equal skill on a race car simulator, for fans at Rivers Casino on the North Shore.

Gordon’s three-minute “race” kicked off the $25,000, “Pedal to the Metal” Pepsi Challenge, which continues at the casino through Feb. 17.

“It’s about pushing the limits of the car without going over them and then laying down a good solid lap time,” he said. “To just keep the car on the track and not lose control of it, is tough to do with this simulator, because it is so realistic. I mean, you’re talking 850 horsepower under the rear wheels on a very fast race track.”

Competing on a second simulator was blackjack dealer Debbie Baranowski.

“They changed the track on me,” she said. “At first, I did the Daytona, which was easier.”

Despite the odds, she kept her “car” on track.

Casino visitors recording the top 10 scores during the challenge will get cash prizes, with a top prize of $10,000.

Onlookers applauded as Gordon won the competition.

“For the last 20 years I’ve been in this sport,” he said, “when we come to Pennsylvania, there are huge race fans. Not just NASCAR fans, but race fans.”

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