That’s the new Fox Gyro-Cam above, used in Sunday’s Daytona 500 coverage. Fasten your seat belts and barf bags.
What qualified as newspaper column fodder this week: How this weekend’s “Girls Gone Wild” events featuring Ronda Rousey in the UFC octagan and Danica Patrick on the Daytona 500 pole could draw more eyes than any other male-dominated sports event on TV this weekend.
What was left as the remains of the blog:
== Fox’s pre-Daytona 500 coverage starts at 9 a.m. with Chris Myers, Darrell Waltrip, Michael Waltrip (who is in the field) and Jeff Hammond, with the race itself at 10:30 a.m. called by Mike Joy, with Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds. The pits are covered by Steve Byrnes, Krista Voda and Matt Yocum.
Another new camera for Fox’s coverage is called CAMCAT, which runs on a wire above the track held up by two cranes outside the facility. The camera is suspended 140 feet in the air and can dip down to 45 feet above the track at the midpoint. It also can go 85 mph along the 2,900-foot cable. Fox once used something similar to this over the pits from 2005-07.
== The other Daytona 500 in-car cameras (aside from Danica Patrick) are with Brad Keslowski, Tony Stewart, Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
== ESPN has the Nationwide Race from Daytona on Saturday (10:15 a.m.), while ESPN2′s “NASCAR Now” has its own Sunday pre-race show (starting at 8 a.m.) and a followup at 9 p.m. with Allen Bestwick, Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace and Ray Everham. ESPN says that the “Daytona 500 winner – whomever he or she may be – will visit ESPN’s studios in Connecticut the day after the race to appear on multiple programs and platforms.”
== The UFC uses its usual broadcast crew — Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan — on the call for Saturday’s event from Anaheim. Unless Goldberg falls “ill” again.
== One heck of a piece on the TV influence on how MMA has evolved over the years, from the New York Times.
== Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Lisa Salters have the Lakers’ game at Dallas (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 7). Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown and Chris Broussard (Memphis-Brooklyn, Sunday at 4 p.m., ESPN) and Dave Pasch, Jon Barry and Heather Cox (Chicago-Oklahoma City, Sunday at 6:30 p.m., ESPN) are elsewhere.
Tonight, the ESPN doubleheader has Minnesota-Oklahoma City with Pasch-Barry-Cox at 5 p.m., then San Antonio-Golden State with Mark Jones, Chris Mullin and Lisa Salters at 7:30 p.m. (as the Warriors break out their new sleeved jerseys.
== Circling back to Dr. Jerry Buss: We found this story from 2010, before he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, on how he created Prime Ticket in 1985 and really established a beach head for a cable TV sports landscape that we see today. After the ceremony, we caught up with him for a quick Q-and-A, with some things that are interesting to ponder now that he’s passed away.
Wednesday’s episode of “Backstage: Lakers” (5 p.m.) will focus on a tribute to Buss.
== The Galaxy may be defending MLS champs, but the New York Red Bulls, featuring Thierry Henry, will make the most appearances (7) on the new TV schedule for the league as it plays out on ESPN starting next week. The Galaxy are on six times, with Seattle five. The Beckham-deficient Galaxy’s only regular-season meeting with New York is on the schedule Sunday, May 19 from the Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The ESPN opener is March 3 (Portland vs. New York, 4:30 p.m.)
== The Feb. 13 Manchester United-Real Madrid contest — also the debut of Gus Johnson as the network’s play-by-play man — was the most-watched weekday afternoon telecast in the history of Fox Soccer Channel, averaging 451,000 total viewers.
== And no, the Eric Shanks identified in this story as it relates to the son of the creator of Barney the Dinosaur is not the president of Fox Sports (or so the real president of Fox Sports says).