For all of you new Nascar fans out there I have decided to add this section to explain some of the flags that you see in the race and what they mean.
There are eight flags that NASCAR drivers have to familiarize themselves with. And the waving of any of them means something very important.
Just like a traffic light, green means go, hit it, step on it, pedal to the metal. The green flag starts and restarts the race.
Once the starting (green) flag is waved the car in second position cannot reach the start/finish line before the pole sitter or a penalty will be assessed. After the race starts, the green flag is not displayed again until there is a caution period. In that instance, the green flag is thrown to restart the race.
BLUE FLAG WITH DIAGONAL ORANGE STRIPE
Okay, you’re a NASCAR driver and you’re barreling down the front stretch at over 150 miles per hour. But you’re not running as well as you would like. In fact, you’re a couple laps down. You look up and the starter is showing you a blue flag with an orange diagonal stripe. what do you do? Drivers have to be aware of the meanings of all the flags. But this flag is the one most new NASCAR fans see the most and probably know the least about. It is the “passing flag” or “move-over flag” and is thrown by the starter to the cars running one or more lap down telling them to show courtesy to the lead lap cars racing around them. These cars must prepare to yield to approaching traffic.
Like the yellow traffic light, the yellow flag means take caution and proceed carefully. The yellow flag is displayed to warn drivers to slow down and use caution when proceeding on the race track. The first car passing the starter immediately following the occurrence of the caution will receive the yellow flag. All cars receiving the yellow flag at the start/finish line will slow down. Until each car crosses the start/finish line, drivers can continue to improve their position. Once they cross the line they will hold their position and form a single line behind the lead car. The pace car will come back out on the track in front of the pack until the green flag is ready to fly again. Yellow flags are used to slow the pace of the race. The determination of what constitutes a reason for a caution period lies in the hands of the NASCAR officials in the race control tower.
To signify the halfway point of each race the starter crosses any two flags and displays them to the field.
Okay, we’ve had green and we’ve had yellow, so what about red? A red light at an intersection means a driver needs to stop. Same with a red flag. A red flag signifies the event must come to an immediate halt, regardless of the positions of the cars on the race track. Regardless of the reason (i.e. inclement weather or an an accident) a red flag is displayed to the field when it is determined by NASCAR officials that the track conditions are not conducive to allowing the event to continue. Cars are brought to a halt in a designated area or right on the race track and repairs or service of any type is prohibited. Also, all work must stop immediately on the cars in the pits and/or garage area and cannot resume until the red flag period comes to an end and the race is restarted.
You’re driving in a race and coming through the tri-oval of a superspeedway. You look up at the starter’s stand and see your car number on the flashing electronic board (which is mounted on the starter’s stand) and the starter is waving a black flag. What does that mean? Well, for any number of reasons, it means you are to report to your pit immediately. Your car could be smoking, you could be going to slow on the race track, you could have passed on the wrong side of the restart, and so on. Whichever, you need to report to the pits immediately to correct the situation. The black flag is the last flag a driver wants to see because it indicates that there is probably something wrong with the car. There is no flag they want to see less than the black flag, except the…
BLACK FLAG WITH WHITE CROSS
This flag simply means one thing, The driver has not responded to the black flag and is being notified by NASCAR officials that his laps will no longer be counted until he heads to the pits.
No matter how long or how short a race is, the white flag appears one time and one time only – when there is one lap left in the event. The white flag indicates that the leader has started his or her last lap, which is, therefore, the final lap of the race. Once the white flag is displayed, cars may not receive any assistance except in the form of a regular pit stop. For example, if a car runs out of gas on the last lap of the race and cannot make it to the finish line, it would have to come into the pits to receive fuel. The driver’s team would not be permitted to physically push him across the start/finish line.
When the checkered flag waves, the race has been completed.