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NASCAR Sprint Cup Series officials help signal messages to drivers during races by waiving an assortment of colored flags. The flagman, who is always located on a stand high above the start/finish line, plays an important role during an event.

greenflagGreen Flag

Displayed at the start of the race and also for restarts during the race. At the start of the race, cars must maintain position until they have crossed the start/finish line. The polesitter at the race start — and race leader on restarts — controls the pace and cannot be passed prior to the green flag waving.

yellowflagYellow Flag

Signifies caution and is given to the first car passing the start immediately following the incident that caused the display of the flag. All cars must slow down immediately to a pre-determined pace, hold their position, and form a single line behind the pace car.

redflagRed Flag

Signifies the race must be put to a stop immediately, regardless of the position of the cars on the track. The red flag shall be used if NASCAR officials decide the race should be stopped, usually for safety and/or competition-related reasons. Cars will be brought to a stop in an area designated by NASCAR officials. Repairs or service of any nature or refueling, whether on pit road or in the garage, will not be permitted when the race is halted due to a red flag, unless the car has withdrawn from the event.

blueflagwstripeBlue Flag with Diagonal Yellow Stripe

Although this flag is displayed regularly during most races, it is probably the least recognized. This flag is displayed to drivers, who are a lap down or significantly slower, that are about to be passed by lead-lap cars. Drivers who are shown this flag must yield to the faster lead-lap cars.

blackflagBlack Flag

Display of this flag requests that the car go immediately to the pits and report to the NASCAR official at the car’s pit area. The car can receive a black flag for a variety of reasons, including a driver/team infraction, or a potential problem with the car reported by NASCAR officials that warrants a closer inspection in the pits. It does not mean automatic disqualification. At the discretion of NASCAR officials, if the driver does not obey the black-flag directive, the driver may then be given the black flag with a white cross at the start/finish line to inform the driver that any additional scoring of his or her car will be discontinued until further notice.

whiteflagWhite Flag

Waves when the driver in the lead begins his final lap of the race.

checkerCheckered Flag

The most famous of all flags, the black and white checkered flag is displayed when the winner has crossed the finish line. All cars on the track will take the checkered flag once.


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