Winning, Losing and Competitive Balance
Edited by Plácido Rodríguez, Stefan Kesenne and Brad R. Humphreys
Chapter 3: When teammates are a drag: the effect of Spingate on the benefit of NASCAR drivers having teammates
Controversy arose in the 2013 North American National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) Sprint Cup auto-racing season when Clint Bowyer of the Michael Waltrip Racing team appeared to deliberately spin out in a race at the Richmond International Raceway in order to help teammate Martin Truex Jr qualify for the Chase for the Cup. In response to this controversy about the integrity of its races, NASCAR changed its rules before its 2014 season to disallow on-track collusion between drivers. This chapter uses data from the 2012–14 NASCAR seasons to examine the effect of the rule changes on driver performance. Our results indicate that drivers in teams receive a performance boost and that the effect operates through both on-track and off-track channels, but that the on-track benefit of having teammates was reduced by the Spingate reforms.
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