What do the Different Colored Flags in NASCAR Mean?

Published 12/21/2021, 2:20 PM EST
TALLADEGA, ALABAMA – OCTOBER 02: Brandon Brown, driver of the #68 The Original Larry’s Hard Lemonade Chevrolet, celebrates after winning the NASCAR Xfinity Series Sparks 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on October 02, 2021 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)


Every motorsport has a flag system that the drivers have to obey. Most of it remains the same across all disciplines, and NASCAR is no different. Just like with every other motorsport, all of the flags’ meanings are universal. However, it is worth mentioning that some of the terminologies are different in NASCAR.

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There is also an interesting question about how many flags are used in NASCAR? The short answer is that there are seven flags that are primarily used. For obvious reasons, the red flag signifies that the race has been stopped. Meanwhile, with regard to what flag means go in Nascar, it is the green flag.

Oct 17, 2020; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; Drivers stop during a red flag after NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Anthony Alfredo (not pictured) was involved in a crash in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Then, there are the yellow flags, where drivers are required to slow down. In NASCAR, they are primarily known as caution flags and, unlike other motorsports events, they come out at specific intervals. Just like other motorsports, the flags are waved when there is an accident or a hazard on the track. However, NASCAR sometimes throws cautions at specific intervals.

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What else do the NASCAR flags signify?

One of the rarest flags is the black flag, which is normally pulled to disqualify a driver. This happens when a driver races very erratically and accumulates too many penalties. Another scenario is when the driver’s car is too badly damaged and could be a hazard to other competitors.

KANSAS CITY, KANSAS – JULY 25: Matt Crafton, driver of the #88 Ford, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series e.p.t 200 at Kansas Speedway on July 25, 2020 in Kansas City, Kansas. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

Next on the hit list is the blue flag. Now, most drivers do not have to worry about seeing this flag. This is because it mostly caters to backmarkers who are about to be put a lap down by the race leader/s. The penultimate important flag is the white flag, which is mostly seen in NASCAR. This particular flag usually indicates that there is one lap remaining before the finish. Finally, the black and white chequered flag brings a race or a session to a close.

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Dhruv George

12543 articles

Dhruv George is a senior Motorsports author for EssentiallySports, having authored nearly 12000 articles spanning different sports like F1, NASCAR, Tennis, NFL, and eSports. He graduated with a PG Diploma in Journalism from the Xavier Institute of Communications. Dhruv has also conducted interviews with F1 driver Pierre Gasly and Moto2 rider Tony Arbolino.

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