Rachel Sanoff
August 29, 2016 12:04 pm
Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

What would The Office have been like without John Krasinski portraying the smirking, shrugging, and pining paper salesman prankster, Jim Halpert?

NBC

For nine seasons, Krasinski made us laugh and swoon on his journey through unrequited love and workplace dysfunction — establishing him as an extremely talented actor.

After The Office series came to an end, Krasinski’s career kept blowing up. He has a starring role in the new Michael Bay blockbuster, 13 Hours, and is the lead in the new Amazon series, Jack Ryan. And he owes it all to Jim.

But John Krasinski may have never played Jim Halpert if it hadn’t been for his role in a NASCAR commercial from 2002.

Krasinski’s supreme comedic chops and perfect timing are extremely apparent in this three minute NASCAR promo, and it caught the attention of Greg Daniels, executive producer of The Office.

Daniels happened to see the commercial, and contacted Krasinski about auditioning for the upcoming remake of the British series.

NBC

Krasinski’s co-star in the commercial is NASCAR driver Matt Kenseth. Krasinski plays a way-too-eager fan who won’t stop following the uninterested race car driver.

The promo also showcases Krasinski’s supreme improv abilities. The director asked Krasinski to start improvising, and he was so good that it ended up changing certain aspects of the commercial. Krasinski told NASCAR.com:

“I haven’t seen or heard that since the time I did it. That is a real send back to memory lane… That was a huge performance and I remember we had a little bit of script and Matt Kenseth had said he doesn’t want to have a line in the script. He was very shy and he didn’t want … he just wanted to walk through the commercial.”

But Krasinski’s emerging star power and hilarious performance wound up inspiring Kenseth to speak a line in the spot.

Thanks for taking us down memory lane with you, John Krasinski. And thanks to the universe for putting you in the right place at the right time, because you are the only Jim!

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