In every single NASCAR race and event, there is always a pace car that plays a crucial role. Pace cars may look a bit different from each other in most races, but play key roles throughout the race to make sure that the race is fair and keeps its integrity. Pace cars look very different from all of the other cars in the race and do not have a normal race car build. Very often, the pace car will have some sort of advertisement on it, usually related to the sponsor of the race. Although the pace cars are usually smaller sedan type cars, they are always used to show off specific brands as they will be front and center on the car come race day.
Essentially, the pace car's job is to try and keep the drivers at a fair speed and pace during the race when there is a major stoppage. The pace car will go out in front of the entire race and stay at a constant speed in order to make sure that the order of the race prior to the incident can be maintained. It is such an important job to have during a race because it ensures that the integrity and competitive nature of the race will be upheld during the stoppage. It would simply not be fair to have different drivers trying to take over positions in the race while there is a crash or major safety issue going on at the time. When drivers see the pace car out in front of a race, it makes them aware that they must stay in their position.
Another key factor that the pace car plays during races is an enforcement role when it comes to pit-road. The pit-road is the area during the race where drivers can stop for repairs and fuel for their vehicles in the middle of the race. The pace car sets the speed limit for pit road, and makes sure that none of the drivers during a race will speed on pit-road, as that is not permitted by NASCAR rules. Although different race tracks have different speed limits for pit-road, the pace car will always adjust to whatever the rules of the track are, and does not have a set speed that it always travels. It goes to show that even off of the main track, the pace car sets a lot of rules and precedents at all times during NASCAR events and races.
Pace cars are also very crucial to drivers during the caution period of many races. It is very common for there to be cautions during races, and they usually happen around one to two times every single race, depending on how bad the event was that is holding up the race. This is beneficial to every driver involved, as stopping the race and keeping everyone in the same spot is the only fair way to make sure that there is a true winner of the race. If everyone stays in the spot that they were in prior to the stoppage, it is essentially like starting the race all over again once the caution is lifted. This is due to the job the pace car does in making sure every driver is maintaining a similar speed.
The pace car also will help drivers stay fresh and ready to go during a stoppage by going at a speed that would allow the NASCAR drivers involved in the race to still drive around the track during a caution. Pace car drivers will face an immense amount of pressure throughout races, due to the fact that races can sometimes even end in a caution, meaning the pace car would essentially have to escort the winning driver to the finish line. They are very beneficial to drivers because they alert drivers to damage which helps keep all of the drivers safe at all times.
The pace car is usually a bright and vibrant color, as drivers will always need to know where the pace car is at all times during a race to be as safe as they possibly can. As the pace car will always be front and center during a race, NASCAR will oftentimes try to use the newest style and innovation to make the pace car looks as aesthetically pleasing as possible for the race viewers around the country.
The pace car serves many purposes during a NASCAR race. Many people will refer to the pace car as the safety car, as it usually comes on to help during a race when there has been a collision or incident on the track. It lets every single driver know that something during the race has gone wrong, and that it needs time to be fixed before the race can go on normally.
Another key function of the pace car throughout a NASCAR event has to do with pit-road and speed enforcement. One of the major functions of the pace car is to maintain the pit-road speed limit. When the pace car sets the speed limit for pit-road, it lets all of the drivers in the race know that if they exceed the pace car's speed, they will be punished.
When the pace car has to come out during a race, it will alert all of the drivers that something is wrong, and slows the race down for everyone involved. How does this help the drivers and competitors in the race? Well, the pace car will usually come out during a caution period in which something has gone very wrong during the race. This could range from a crash, to bad weather, or any kind of obstacle that would prevent the race from being as fair as possible to everyone involved. This warning lets drivers know that they need to be extra cautious as they go around the track.