Catching up, in a midweek sort of way:
- A Nationwide Series crew chief told us on the Sirius NASCAR Radio show I do weekday mornings that some teams have already been given previews of what the new car for that series is going to look like. The Nationwide car will be built on the same chassis as the Cup Series car of tomorrow, but the bodies will be different. And, at least right now, the Nationwide cars will have spoilers and not wings. The new car will be in use in the Nationwide Series in 2009.
- The season's final Cup statistics are done and the top 49 drivers in points all won at least $1 million. The top 42 all won at least $2 million. Bill Elliott was the sport's first $2 million man back in 1985 when he won the $1 million bonus from Winston and took home $2,383,186 as the runner-up to Darrell Waltrip, who was the first champion to top $1 million with $1,318,375 that same year.
- Jimmie Johnson won twice as many races this year as he did last year and repeated as champion. But he won more money in 2006 -- about $560,000 more. A big reason for that is that he won the Daytona 500, NASCAR's richest race, in 2006.
- When the space shuttle Atlantis goes up Thursday, it will carry three racing flags. When those flags come back to earth, one of them will be given to winner of the Daytona 500, the Daytona 500 Experience (formerly Daytona USA) will keep one and NASA will keep one.
- I gripe about travel a lot, I know, but I have to admit I sort of enjoy the game of trying to get around the country to cover NASCAR races without spending any more of the company's money than I really need to. You find a decent hotel room about five miles from the track for a race next fall, on the side of the speedway away from which most of the traffic comes in, for $71 a night. You reserve a car for two weeks out of the Orlando airport for half what it would cost if you rented from another company that's basically under them same corporate umbrella. It's annoying, though, when you can buy an airline ticket for a trip to Las Vegas that connects through an airport for $300, then come back and try to buy a ticket to get off the plane in that same airport for a race there and they want $500. It costs $200 more to NOT keep going? How does that make sense?