Safety at the Racetrack: Results of Restrictor Plates in Superspeedway Competition
In 1988, in an effort to reduce risks at auto races, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) implemented a provision requiring the installation of carburetor restrictor plates at its higher speed events. Restrictor plates make a car's engine less effective, thereby slowing the field. Many NASCAR drivers and fans alike question whether the reduction in speed has led to increased safety. This article investigates the empirical determinants of racetrack safety, paying particular attention to the results of restrictor-plate racing on driver safety. We conclude that whereas restrictor-plate races are characterized by more cars being wrecked, there is no systematic evidence that they have led to more driver injuries.
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Volume (Year): 71 (2004)
Issue (Month): 1 (July)
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