NASCAR Lingo And Terminology

NASCAR Lingo and Terminology


Happy Hour: A term referring to the last practice held before an event. Usually occurs the day before the race.

Intervals: The distance between two cars measured in time, usually in seconds.

Basic Terms

NASCAR: National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing. The foremost league for stock car racing, headquartered in the United States.

Pit Crew: Team members for each racecar that work on the car in the pit during each race as quickly as possible. The pit crew refill the gas, change tires, and fix any of the car’s other issues.

Flags Terms

Checkered Flag: A flag that is waved at the end of the race to notify the drivers and spectators that the race is over.

Green Flag: A flag that is waved to notify the drivers that the race has begun, or that it is the end of a caution period.

Lucky Dog: The first car that is one lap down from the leader when the caution flag is waved. At this time, that car is allowed to rejoin the lead lap without having to race his way through the field.

Red Flag: A flag that is waved to notify drivers to stop their cars due to an accident or other circumstances. Cars cannot be worked on during this period.

Stop and Go: A penalty incurred when a driver is shown the black flag and must return to their pit stall, remaining in the pits until a race official deems their car safe to drive and clears them to rejoin the race.

Yellow Flag: A flag waved to notify drivers to slow down their cars due to unsafe conditions. Cars are not able to pass the car in front of them during this period.

Track Terms

Apron: The paved area closest to the grass that is not banked or intended for racing like the rest of the track.

Banking: The sloped angle of the racetrack, from the wall to the apron.

Groove: A term used to refer to the quickest path a car can travel on the track. The “high groove” is the path closest to the wall and the “low groove” is the path closest to the apron.

Pit Road: The area inside of the track where the pit crew is able to work on the car before it continues the race.

Pit Stall: A specific place in the pit road designated for each car to use during a pit stop

Pole Position: The starting position at the front of all of the cars, given to the car with the fastest qualifying time.

Marbles: Small pieces of rubber and debris that gather at the top of the track, causing a lack of traction for some cars.

Short Track: Racetracks that are shorter than a mile in length.

Superspeedway: Racetrackers that are a mile or longer in length.

Victory Lane: An area found in the center of the racetrack where the winner parks their car to celebrate.

Car Terms

Chassis: The part of a racecar that includes the floorboard, interior, and roll cage. Many rules are in place for each car to follow in order to make races as even as possible.

Restrictor plate: A piece of equipment at the opening of the engine that limits the car’s speed. Due to the nature of drafting in NASCAR, this device is used to limit the cars from reaching a speed that could cause major crashes.

Spoiler: A long strip of metal attached to the rear of the car in order to increase the car’s downforce and provide more traction on the wheels.

Track Bar: A bar that can be adjusted before or during the race in order to tighten or loosen the car. The bar connects the frame of the car with the rear axle on the opposite side.

Spoiler: “Wing Like” structure on the back of a NASCAR car. The purpose of a spoiler is to reduce drag hitting the vehicle.

Racing Terms

Drafting: Occurs when a car is closely following another car, almost touching it, but leaving space to avoid an accident. The front car displaces the air it travels through, decreasing the air resistance on the car directly behind it. This makes it easier for the second car to go faster and pass the car it was traveling behind.

Loose: A negative condition in which the race car's back tires fishtail when entering or exiting a turn. This is caused by a lack of grip on the rear tires and can be fixed during a pit stop. 

Tight: The opposite of loose, a racecar is tight when the front tires lose traction more easily than the rear tires, making it difficult to turn effectively.

Drafting Terms

Aero:  Shortened form of aerodynamics, or the way the car moves through air. Having a shape that reduces drag from the air flowing past the object.

Drag: A force that acts on an object opposite to its motion.

Slipstream: An area behind a moving object where there is a wake that moves at speeds similar to the moving object.

Speed Terms

Air Pressure: Referring to the air in the tires, the more air the tighter the tires should be. If a driver wants to loosen up on turns, they must lower the air pressure in the tires.

Dirty Air: Turbulent air, produced by the speed of the car driving at the front of the pack, that can impact the downforce of the cars behind it and cause mishandling of the vehicles.

Downforce: The result of air pushing down the rear of the car and keeping it on the track, making the car easier to drive and more responsive to movements.

Drag: The resisting force acting on the racecar when traveling at very fast speeds. Drivers want as little drag as possible when they are racing.

Turbulence: Irregular motions of air produced by a car that can cause drivers behind that car to mishandle their vehicles.


What is another name for NASCAR racing?

Another term used to describe NASCAR racing is “stock car racing.” NASCAR stands for National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. Since NASCAR is by far the most popular form of stock car racing in the world, the term “NASCAR” is basically synonymous with “stock car racing.”

What do you call a NASCAR car?

A NASCAR race car is called a stock car. Stock car means that the car itself is a model that is produced for sale to the general public by the manufacturer, but has been modified for racing. It is incorrect to call a NASCAR race car a “NASCAR,” as NASCAR is simply the name of the organization, not the car itself.