Engineering grad gets cameo in Nissan’s Super Bowl commercial

Race car driver and engineering alumnus Brad Jaeger can be seen very briefly in a 90-second Nissan commercial during the 2015 Super Bowl on Feb. 1 featuring the relationship between a race car driver and his son and set to the 1974 folk song “Cat’s in the Cradle.”

His cameo comes in the scene of a victory line celebration about one minute in. Jaeger, a Doran Racing driver, is on the top step of the podium during a filmed victory lane sequence of the “With Dad” commercial.

Jaeger is featured in a Nissan commercial that aired during the Feb. 1 Super Bowl.

Had it been a race, the commercial – which cost $13.5 million in airtime alone – would have finished in ninth place out of 61 commercials, according to a USA Today ranking by 6,703 advertising enthusiasts.

“I had a wonderful time. It was the first time I’ve ever been exposed to a proper Hollywood production. It was a lot more relaxed than a race weekend,” Yeager told Cincinnati Enquirer reporter Carrie Blackmore Smith.

Jaeger, a Cincinnati native, studied mechanical engineering, graduating Magna Cum Laude in May 2007. While at Vanderbilt, he was a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and an active member in Vanderbilt’s Formula SAE program, designing and fabricating an open-wheel race car each year. He currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, where he is earning a master’s degree in business at the University of Virginia.

Doran Racing sent four drivers, seven crew members and 11 race cars to help with the production of the commercial, which was shot in December at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas.

“To see all the planning and all the people that go into it…it was fantastic to be a part of,” said Jaeger, who also was a driver in a few of the brief racing scenes and helped coordinate parts of the commercial.

Brad Jaeger

Nissan reached out to Jaeger and Doran Racing because Jaeger has access to many of the new racing cars. Two of Doran’s race cars, both Nissan 370Zs, made it into the commercial.

The storyline follows a dad with a racing career. His son grows up watching him on television as the father misses several important events in his son’s life. The dad starts in a Doran Racing Nissan 370Z, progresses to a Nissan GT-R (a raceway crash), and then wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Nissan’s brand new LMP1 GT-R LM NISMO. At the end, father and son drive off together in a new Nissan Maxima.

“With racing, so much can go wrong. There are so many lows, and the lows are pretty severe, but when you’re on that podium it makes it all worthwhile,” Jaeger told Charlotteville (Va.) Newsplex reporter James Gilbert.

Compiled from reports in The Cincinnati Enquirer, Charlottesville Newsplex and

Engineering grad takes top honors in one of the nation’s most innovative technical challenges (2010)

Jaeger’s team finishes 16th in class in Rolex 24 (2008)

Indy Pro Series is next stop for May Vanderbilt grad Brad Jaeger (2007)

Brenda Ellis, (615) 343-6314
Twitter @VUEngineering