FOX announced that it is taking Digger, its NASCAR Gopher Cam mascot, to disturbing new levels beginning with this Sunday’s Daytona 500. The Adventures of Digger and Friends, a collaboration between FOX Sports chairman David Hill and country music star Keith Urban, will premiere during the race, with five two-minute vignettes featuring the furry characters that will be repeated throughout the NASCAR season, long after we’ve all stopped watching. Says Hill:
The first time I saw Digger pop out of his little tunnel I thought we could really have some fun with this and make our races more entertaining, especially for younger fans. I really got to thinking about all this when the online effort to name him was so overwhelming. From there we came up with the idea for the vignettes and using him during races as we do Cleatus, our NFL on FOX robot.
Right. And everyone just loves Cleatus. Digger sounds like one of those all-too-common cases of underlings indulging the big bosses’ crazy whims. But wait, there’s more:
Annie is Digger’s adorable teenage love interest. Inspired by Hill’s 14 year-old daughter of the same name, Annie, like many teen girls, is bouncy, cheerful, scattered, willful and preoccupied by her many interests, which don’t include racing. Sometimes Digger’s ceaseless chatter about NASCAR goes in one ear and out the other.
Someone please call Carl Spackler.