Race Weekend Central

Full Throttle: FOX, It’s Just a Freaking Camera

Not even a year ago, I penned an article about the incessant force feeding of NASCAR fandom the idiotic rubbish that is Digger, an in-track camera that wasn’t even the original idea of FOX. It actually came from ESPN and the good ol’ days of Thursday Night Thunder. Well just when we thought it couldn’t get any worse, they have one upped themselves. They spent 15 minutes of the pre-race program before the Daytona 500 with an animated enema about their ridiculous cartoon character that is a mascot for a camera. A CAMERA!!!! Enough already.

Unfortunately for those of us who want to watch NASCAR on television, it isn’t over. The 15 minutes of the pre-race was just the appetizer. We’re going to see 15 more episodes of Digger drivel before we are finally able to watch NASCAR on another network for points-paying races. If the average length of this moronic waste of video is 15 minutes, that is 225 minutes of time that is going to be wasted talking about an imaginary creature that, in the make believe world of FOX television, runs a camera buried in the racetrack.

See also
Talking NASCAR TV: SPEEDing Through 2009 Daytona 500 Week in 3,000 Words or Less

Imagine if the network had forgone that little pre-race cinemagraphic interlude and had actually dropped the green flag 15 minutes earlier. At an average time of 48 seconds per lap, that would have been 18–19 more laps of racing. With the race being red-flagged 48 laps early, we could have seen almost half of the racing that we missed instead of seeing a prancing cartoon lugging around an imaginary camera.

There is so much more important information that can be imparted on race fans during pre-race and race broadcasts. There is historical perspective and team history, on-track developments and off-track dealings, driver movement and sponsor changes. NASCAR alters rules and there are explanations for how they will be interpreted, not to mention technical changes in cars and tires. There are a multitude of things that can be a far greater use of resources on a race broadcast.

With all of that said, it is even more ridiculous that FOX and Darrel Waltrip and Lord knows who else are making money off of the merchandise that is being sold with the picture of that vermin on the front of it. All of which is still, remember, based on a camera that is buried in the track. Couldn’t FOX come up with an imaginary superhero that does good deeds for needy kids or charitable foundations that do good work all over the country? It just seems so ludicrous to put forth so much effort over such a meaningless idea.

I may be completely wrong. This idiotic cartoon character may be drawing in millions of casual fans that Brian France is trying to woo to his beloved sport. Maybe this sophomoric entertainment is exactly what the majority of the people watching the races now are craving. I surely hope that is not the case, because if it is, the state of the sport is in very dire straights.

About the author

What is it that Mike Neff doesn’t do? The writer, radio contributor and racetrack announcer coordinates the site’s local short track coverage, hitting up Saturday Night Specials across the country while tracking the sport’s future racing stars. The writer for our signature Cup post-race column, Thinkin’ Out Loud (Mondays) also sits down with Cup crew chiefs to talk shop every Friday with Tech Talk. Mike announces several shows each year for the Good Guys Rod and Custom Association. He also pops up everywhere from PRN Pit Reporters and the Press Box with Alan Smothers to SIRIUS XM Radio. He has announced at tracks all over the Southeast, starting at Millbridge Speedway. He's also announced at East Lincoln Speedway, Concord Speedway, Tri-County Speedway, Caraway Speedway, and Charlotte Motor Speedway.

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