January 8, 2010, Newsletter Issue #161: Understanding the Flags

Tip of the Week

Seven flags are used in NASCAR; all but one are used by a NASCAR official at the start/finish line and shown to the car leading the race at the time or the polesitter at the start of the race.

GREEN: signifies the start of a race as well as a restart after a caution period.

YELLOW: signifies a caution period on the track and is displayed in combination with flashing yellow lights around the track. All cars slow then maintain their position and follow in single file behind the pace car. There is no passing while the yellow is displayed unless directed by NASCAR. Pit stops are permitted and teams can make adjustments or add fuel as necessary.

RED FLAG: All racing must stop immediately regardless of the cars position on the track. NASCAR will then direct the field to a safe area to stop. Once cars are stopped, no work of any kind is permitted on the racecars.

BLUE FLAG WITH YELLOW DIAGONAL STRIPE: Commonly called the Ďmove overí flag, the car that this flag is displayed to is begin warned that faster traffic is overtaking them and they must yield.

BLACK FLAG; NASCAR is telling the car the black flag is being displayed to that they must pit at once. If a driver fails to heed the black flag then they are shown a black flag with a white cross and their car number is displayed on an electronic sign just under the flag stand. Once this happens, NASCAR will discontinue scoring the car.

WHITE FLAG: This is displayed to the leader when he crosses the finish line and starts the final lap of the race.

CHECKERED FLAG: displayed to the leader as he crosses the finish line declaring him the winner and showing the rest of the field that the race has ended.

RED FLAG WITH YELLOW CROSS: This flag isnít at the flag stand, but rather at the entrance to pit road. It tells the field that pit road is closed, and is waved as the same time as the yellow. Once the field is slowed down and the Race Director gives the go ahead, the NASCAR official stationed at the entrance pit road changes it to green telling the field that the pits are now open. Both flags are used in conjunction with lights, red for closed pit road and green when open.

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