A Fan’s Guide to Racing


A PACE CAR is generally used at the start of each event, and on caution laps. The leader(s) will gradually and steadily pick up speed after the pace car pulls away, accelerating quickly when the starter “throws” or waves the green flag.

The flagman controls the race from his perch above the track, constantly watching for signs of trouble with assistance from spotters and the tower. A GREEN flag means “GO!”, and is used at the beginning of a race, and on restarts. During the race, experienced fans watch for cars attempting to catch up or pass on the straightaway, jockeying for position, and how drivers handle the turns.

The YELLOW flag means “CAUTION!” Drivers must slow immediately to a reasonable speed, and hold their position. Caution laps may or may not count, depending on the race. Feature races at short tracks generally do not count laps run under a yellow flag. Restarts begin at the starting line coming off of turn 4 with lead cars in front, generally two abreast, in the order they were running when the caution flag was thrown. Single file restarts may be used late in the race.

A RED flag means “STOP!”, regardless of your car’s position on the track. If a BLACK flag is thrown, the driver in question must take his or her car to the pits immediately for consultation with an official regarding a rule violation or a vehicle problem. A BLUE flag with a DIAGONAL STRIPE tells drivers that they are being lapped by faster vehicles. When ANY TWO CROSSED flags are displayed by the starter, it signals drivers that the leader has completed half the distance of the race.

The WHITE flag is used to signal the field that the leader has begun his or her final lap. The CHECKERED flag signals drivers that the winner has crossed the finish line. After the checkered flag is displayed to the leader, the rest of the field will receive the checkered flag in the same lap.

RACE RESULTS are determined visually by the tower, and confirmed electronically by transponders which keep track of laps completed, and automatically record the order of finish. After the race, the winner/top finishers report immediately to victory lane for pictures and awards.