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If You Incentivize It, They Will Cheat

NASCAR recently made several changes for its 2007 Nextel Cup season. Perhaps the most significant was increasing the incentive to actually win the races. Since the Nextel Cup is a points tournament, a driver can do very well by just hanging around and finishing near the top. But now, by awarding more points to the winner of each race, NASCAR just made winning quite a bit more valuable.

So it’s probably not surprising that drivers are a little bit more eager to win the Daytona 500, the first race of the year. How eager are they? Two top drivers — Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne were busted yesterday for cheating, having modified their cars to go faster. They’ll start at the end of the pack in Sunday’s big race, with more penalties likely to come later.

Here’s what we wrote last year about NASCAR.