Red, White and Blue: The other racing flag

At the start of each American race, one flag gets more attention than any of the others, as race tracks salute the American Flag in honor of the country and roots [source: NASCAR]. A pledge to diversity and respect for the nation and its armed forces is one of the foremost aspects of NASCAR, something fans, sponsors and teams can agree on at the end of the day [source: American Veteran Awards].

Stock Car Racing Flags

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Green means go. Ask any kid riding shotgun or maneuvering his Mario Kart down a televised track. We all know that green signals allow the flow of traffic to continue, and with stock car racing, this is no different. There are red and yellows flags too, much like the colors regular drivers are used to seeing. However, you might not be as familiar with these other stock car racing flags:

  • Green: A green flag means that the track is clear, racers can begin and normal speed is just fine. A green flag also signals any restarts.
  • Yellow: A yellow flag on the track signals caution, and all positions must be maintained behind the pace car. Weather, accidents or debris can bring about this flag, and after a yellow, cars will have to follow restart protocol based on their position once full speed is resumed. If this flag is thrown up during practice, all vehicles must head back to the pits.
  • Red: You guessed it, red means stop. There might be something unsafe, like an accident or serious blockage on the road.
  • White: This flag is waved when there is one lap left in the race.
  • Checkered: The distance mark has been hit and the race is over.
  • Black: An individual car may need help in the pits or has violated a rule. At the end of a practice session, black and red are waved together.
  • Black with White Cross: An individual car has ignored a black flag and will not be scored until it pits.
  • Blue with yellow stripe: Watch behind you, as a faster car is approaching. If you have been lapped, you must yield to the faster cars.
  • Yellow with Red Vertical stripes: This flag is used on road courses at the corners to warn of debris or slippery conditions ahead.

­Got it? Good. We're waving the green flag so you can read on to learn about stock car racing requirements.

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