Know Your Flags: The 8 Flags of NASCAR

When most people think of automobile racing, the checkered flag comes to mind. While this flag is undoubtedly one of the most iconic symbols associated with the sport, did you know that there are a total of 8 flags that wave throughout the course of a race? A flagman, the individual who sits high above the start/finish line, waves the appropriate flag when necessary. Here are the 8 flags you see during a race:
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Green Flag: This flag is waved at the start of a race and during re-starts. When the green flag is used, the first-place driver cannot be passed.

Yellow Flag: The yellow flag cautions drivers to potential dangers on the track, signaling them to slow down to a predetermined speed. This flag is often used when there is debris on the track from a wreck.

Red Flag: Just like a stop sign, the red flag notifies drivers to stop the race immediately. This flag is usually used for safety reasons, and drivers must stop no matter where they are on the track.

Black Flag: The black flag is shown to individual drivers that must respond to a concern from NASCAR. Some examples for receiving this flag are speeding on the pit road, dropping debris on the track, or failing to maintain the minimum track speed. Drivers have 5 laps to respond to the black flag.

Black Flag with Diagonal White Stripe: A driver who fails to respond to the black flab by pitting within 5 laps is shown this flag. As a result, the driver’s score is suspended until further notice.

Blue Flag with Diagonal Yellow Stripe: A courtesy flag shown to drivers not on the lead lap, it indicates that slower drivers should yield to faster drivers approaching them.

White Flag: This flag waves when the lead driver begins the final lap.

Checkered Flag: The most famous flag, this flag waves when the winner crosses the finish line.

Now that you know all the flags involved in NASCAR, keep an eye out for them the next time you watch a race. Root for your favorite driver and see how often each flag appears during the competition.

Real Life Racers: an Introduction to NASCAR

NASCAR stands for the National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing, and is one of the biggest car racing organizations in the world. NASCAR organizes such events such as the Sprint Cup series, the Nationwide Series, and the Camping World Truck Series. The Sprint Cup is the most prestigious of the three, and the one most people think of when they think of NASCAR.

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The major races in the Sprint Cup are the Daytona 500, the Aaron’s 499, and the Coca-Cola 600. If a driver wins all three of those races, they are considered a Triple Crown winner, as those are the “major” races in the Sprint Cup series. The Coca-Cola 600, held in Concord, North Carolina, is the longest NASCAR race at over 600 miles long. The Aaron’s 499, held in Talladega, Alabama, is known as the fastest NASCAR race. The Daytona 500, held in Daytona Beach, Florida, is considered the most prestigious of the NASCAR races, and one of the most historic. NASCAR essentially got its start in Daytona Beach, with informal car races held there in the early twentieth century.

Some of the top drivers today are Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick.

Jimmie Johnson, who drives the No. 48 car, is the only NASCAR driver to ever win five Sprint Cup championships in a row. He is not only considered one of the top drivers, but one of the top athletes in the world due to his success racing stock cars.

Jeff Gordon is one of the most famous NASCAR drivers of all time. He has the third most wins out of any NASCAR driver ever. His team is nicknamed the “Rainbow Warriors” because of the distinctive rainbow color scheme on the car and suit.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of the most popular NASCAR drivers, winning the Most Popular Driver Award ten times in a row. Earnhardt’s father, Dale Earnhardt, was one of the greatest NASCAR drivers of all time before he met his untimely end during the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500.

Danica Patrick was originally an IndyCar driver, switching over to NASCAR in 2011. Not only was Patrick the first woman to win an Indy car race, but she also has the best finish by a woman in a NASCAR top-circuit race, as well as the first woman to win a pole position and the first woman to lead a lap at the 500. Due to her success as a woman in a dominantly male sport, Danica Patrick is one of the most well-known drivers in the world.

NASCAR is one of the most popular sporting events in the United States, drawing the biggest crowds and some of the biggest television audiences. Do you or your family watch NASCAR?