Here's a story you might expect more from Formula 1 than NASCAR: team owners say that you simply can't be competitive in the sport if you don't have a plane to shuttle your crew around. Rick Hendrick, for instance, has three 50-seat regional jets, Joe Gibbs has another three, and Jack Roush has two Boeing 727s. Meanwhile, Formula 1's Jensen Button and Ross Brawn left the Malaysia after the grand prix on commercial flights.

The key is the schedule: NASCAR has races just about every weekend, making every available moment to work on the car an awfully precious one. Having a transportation fleet that can fly crews out the morning of the race, land and get them straight to the garage a few hours before the race, doing so without all those commercial glitches, can make the difference between podium and also-ran. Team owners say they actually save money using the planes, not having to book hotel rooms and pay for food. That means NASCAR has opened the door for us to use "it's thrifty" and "we'll need a private jet" in requests to our bosses from now on...


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