NASCAR Flag Types

nascar flags

What are flags used for during NASCAR races? How many flags are there, and what is indicated by each flag? Each of the eight main flags is colored differently and represents a specific situation during the race. Here is a one-stop guide that explains the reasoning behind every flag seen on race day.

Flags are an easy way to make drivers aware of how far along they are in the race, as well as alert drivers of any potential hazards on the track. Each race has a designated flagman that is tasked with waving different colored flags as the cars make their way around the track.

List of NASCAR Flags

  • Black Flag
  • Blue Flag
  • Blue with Yellow Diagonal Stripe Flag
  • Checkered Flag (Black and White)
  • Green Flag
  • Green and White Checkered Flag
  • Red Flag
  • Red and Black (two flags)
  • Red with Yellow Stripe Flag
  • Yellow Flag
  • Yellow and Red Striped Flag
  • White Flag

Black Flag

The black flag is used to gain the attention of an individual driver who has violated the rules or has extensive damage that requires immediate attention. Per the official rules and regulations of NASCAR, a driver that has been shown the black flag must promptly exit the track and drive to their pit box, where the car can be quickly serviced or repaired. They will not be allowed to rejoin the race until an official has approved the repairs.

Blue Flag

The blue flag is only shown at road courses and means that there are hard-to-see issues further along the track. The blue flag does not necessarily mean that there are bad conditions, just that drivers should stay alert.

Blue Flag with Diagonal Yellow Stripe

A driver that sees the blue-striped flag is alerted that a faster car is about to pass their car. The flag is waved only when the faster car is leading by at least a full lap (a full trip around the track) and dictates that the driver being passed must slow down or move out of the way to allow the race leaders to overtake them.

Checkered Flag

The checkered flag is used to signal the end of the race. Once the driver crosses the finish line, the race is over.

Green Flag

The green flag represents the start of a race or stage, or a restart after a caution. Once the green flag is waved, the driver in first place accelerates, and the field makes a rolling start.

Green and White Checkered Flag

Since a race cannot end on a caution during the final laps, the flagman will wave a checkered green and white flag to indicate an overtime restart once the safety concern has been addressed. 

For example, if a collision occurs on the second-to-last lap and racers are forced to follow the safety car, two overtime laps will be added and the race will resume as normal upon the sight of the checkered green and white flag.

Red Flag

The red flag is waved when officials become aware of bad weather and dangerous track conditions. Rather than follow a safety car and slow down, drivers must return to pit lane until it is safe to resume racing.

Red and Black Flags

A red flag and a black flag waved at the same time signals the end of a practice or qualifying session. When these two flags are displayed, drivers must slow and return to their garages, as the session has concluded and they will not have another opportunity to set a lap time.

Red Flag with Yellow Stripe

The red flag with a yellow stripe signifies that the pit lane is closed. The pit lane is close every time the pack needs to be reformed, such as when a caution flag has been flown for an incident on the track.

White Flag

The white flag means that the current leader has one lap remaining in the race. If a caution occurs after the white flag has been flown, the race will not end on the current lap. Instead, two overtime laps will be added and the race will restart as many times as necessary to finish the race under green-flag conditions.

Yellow and Red Striped Flag

This is a yellow flag with vertical red stripes. It is only used for road courses and tells drivers that there is debris on the track.

Yellow Flag

The yellow flag is used to warn drivers of a potential hazard on the track in the form of debris, fluids, a serious collision, or inclement weather. When drivers spot the yellow flag, they must slow down and line up in position order behind the pace car (a specially marked car that is driven by a safety official to dictate the speed when a safety concern arises) until the flag is no longer being waved, signaling that the hazard has been cleared.


What is a green-white-checkered finish in NASCAR

A green-white-checkered finish in NASCAR is an overtime finish, as rules do not permit races to end under caution (yellow flag) conditions. When a caution occurs during the final two laps of a race, a green and white checkered flag is waved at restart instead of a solid green one, to signal that it is the beginning of a two-lap overtime.

What is a black flag in NASCAR?

A black flag in NASCAR is shown to a driver when they are required to immediately retire to pit lane. A black flag is shown for rule violations, car malfunctions, or any other serious impediment that would require a driver to immediately pit. Drivers shown a black flag are not permitted to continue racing until they have been cleared to do so by race officials.