Whenever I'm at Target during February I always cruise around to the toy aisle to see which drivers' die-cast cars are hanging from the shelves. So when I was there this morning, I wasn't surprised to see the cars of Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and of course, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
But then there was another car that I was surprised to see. No, it wasn't Bobby Labonte's TRG car or Kevin Conway -- if I do ever see an ExtenZe die-cast car, you can bet that I'm buying it -- but everyone's favorite annoyance.
No, I didn't buy the car, as I don't think I'd even pay one tenth of the $4.99 price tag to buy the die cast car of a cartoon gopher. And before you ask, yes, that's also taking into account Digger's supporting role in the recent Alvin and the Chipmunks movie.
Despite Digger's presence in the toy section, according to Fox's David Hill, we'll be seeing less of the gopher this season, and that's a good thing. However, Hill wouldn't confirm if that was because of Digger reportedly increasing his salary demands tenfold because of his major motion picture experience
If you were paying attention during the Budweiser Shootout, you would have noticed that while Digger Cam was still prevalent, Digger himself didn't appear every time his camera did. And according to Hill's press session at Daytona earlier this week, that was by design.
Fox apparently heard the feedback from last year, and will tone down Digger considerably. Don't worry, you can still buy your Digger merchandise -- as evidenced by the car -- but you won't want to throw anything at the television when there seems to have been more Digger appearances than laps run.
And as a bonus, Digger's reduced role will also mean no pre-race cartoons. The rumor floating around Daytona after Hill's press session was that Digger wanted full editorial control of those cartoons, and Fox wasn't comfortable giving an animal incapable of rational thought that much power.
So breathe easy race fans. It looks like a gopher's inflated sense of self worth will lead to better race telecasts. Who would have ever imagined that?