On the Track Tips
Read these 12 On the Track Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about NASCAR tips and hundreds of other topics.
The first 36 starting positions are determined by speed during the qualifying round. The final seven positions (37-43) are called provisional starting positions and are based on a combination of car-owner points and past champion status.
At the start of the season, each team is allowed four provisional starting positions and will receive an additional provisional entry after every eighth qualifying attempt. A maximum of eight provisionals are allowed to be used thoughout a season. If the team in question is in the top 25 in points, a provisional start does not count against the season's allotment.
Each race, five bonus points are given to any driver who leads a lap and an additional five points are given to the driver who leads the most laps. The points count toward the championship, and may end up the difference between a Champion and the second place finisher.
When the black flag is waved at a driver, that driver must then pull into the pits because of either a problem with the car making it unsafe to the driver(s) or another infraction, such as rough driving.
On all NASCAR tracks, the white flag is used to indicate to the drivers that they have started their final lap of the race. Only during road course events is the white flag used by the corner workers to indicate that an emergency vehicle is on the racetrack.
The blue flag with an orange diagonal stripe is shown to let the slower driver(s) know that one or more faster drivers are about to lap them. This flag is optional, and the driver may choose to ignore it if he/she wishes. Even though this flag is optional, NASCAR prefers that the slower driver move aside so that the leading drivers may still race.
In NASCAR, a green flag means go. The flag is used to start the field at the beginning of a race. The green flag will not be waved again until the end of a caution period. At this time, the green flag is waved to restart the race.
When the NASCAR official waves the red flag with a yellow 'x' on it at the end of pit lane, it signifies to the drivers that pit road is closed. This can be either due to an accident in or near the pits or because the pace car has not yet picked up the pack.
The red flag is shown to the drivers when it is necessary for the race to come to a complete stop. Reasons for waving this flag may include a bad accident blocking the track, rain or other unsafe conditions on the track.
The black flag with a white 'X' on it is shown if a driver does not pit within five laps of receiving the black flag. The flag means NASCAR officials are no longer scoring the driver until they obey the previous black flag and pit.
The yellow flag is also known as the caution flag. The yellow flag indicates that the drivers must slow down and proceed around the track with caution. During a caution, the pace car will come on to the track and lead the cars until the race is ready to be restarted.
The checkered flag contains alternating black and white squares. When the checkered flag waves, it signifies the end of the race. The first driver to cross the finish line while the checkered flag is waving is the winner of that race.
Qualifying order is chosen at random. For example, in NASCAR Winston Cup, each team draws a number. The order in which these numbers are drawn is determined by the current car-owner points.