Which Are the Different Flags Shown in a NASCAR Race? What Do They Mean?

Published 04/18/2021, 12:16 PM EDT
Mar 7, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) and driver William Byron (24) lead the field for the start of the Pennzoil 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports


In the realm of racing and motorsports, flags and banners are traditionally utilized to symbolize track condition. Moreover, flags are often used to impart important messages to drivers. Ordinarily, the starter or the grand marshal of a race, in the case of NASCAR, waves the flags. They stand on a tower close to the start/finish line.

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Track marshals are additionally positioned at different points along the race track. They use flags to send messages to driver about the nearby and course-wide conditions. On the other hand, tracks also utilize lights to show the flags. The lights are placed at the start/finish line and at different points throughout the circuit. The flags are sometimes even shown on the steering wheel of the driver.

While there are no universal flags and banners, there are many common flags across motorsports. For instance, the checkered flag is normally used across all of motorsport to imply the end of a session, be it the practice, qualifying, or the race.

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DAYTONA BEACH, FL – JULY 06: Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, takes the checkered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)

Other than that, there are a plethora of other flags that are shown during a particular race in different series.

There are many different flags used in NASCAR. All of those flags mean different things, which can potentially confuse the spectators.

So, what do NASCAR flags mean?

Different flags used in a NASCAR race

Checkered flag: At the point when the checkered plan is waved, a driver has crossed the start/finish goal and won the race.

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Red flag: Drivers should stop on the track in an assigned place when they see the flagman wave a red flag. This implies that it isn’t alright for drivers to drive on the track in view of improper climate conditions or bad track conditions.

Yellow flag: A yellow flag in NASCAR implies that the authorities have called a caution on the grounds of a mishap on the track. When there is debris on the track, a yellow flag is shown as it makes driving conditions risky. At the point when drivers see a yellow flag, they slow down and drive carefully until the track has been cleared.

SPARTA, KENTUCKY – JULY 11: Grant Enfinger, driver of the #98 Champion Power Equipment Ford, and Sheldon Creed, driver of the #2 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet, take the green flag to start the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series Buckle Up In Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway on July 11, 2019 in Sparta, Kentucky. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

Green flag: The flagman waves this banner to begin or restart a race. The green flag gives a go-ahead to the drivers to start racing.

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Black flag: When the flagman waves a black flag at a driver, that driver should immediately leave the track and go to the pits right away. This flag is shown when the driver does something incorrectly. It is also shown when a driver’s vehicle isn’t fit to be on the track.

Blue flag with diagonal yellow stripe: This flag is shown to a slower driver to indicate that a quicker driver is going to pass him. The slower driver has to respect that vehicle, otherwise they are given a penalty.

White flag: This flag implies that the race leader has one lap to go in the race.

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Did you know the message behind all of these flags? If not, what did you think they meant? Let us know in the comments.

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Abhay Aggarwal

402 articles

Abhay Aggarwal is sports analyst at EssentiallySports. Having joined ES in early 2020, he has over 300 NASCAR, Formula 1, and Tennis articles to his name. Abhay has been an avid motorsports fan for over a decade, and he even attended the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011.

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