What Is Nascar?

The Inside Track

The 725-horsepower engines rev, the crowd cheers, the green flag waves, and the race begins! For hundreds of miles, some of the greatest drivers in the world will move at speeds of over 200 miles per hour. By the end of the race, no matter where you are, you will have experienced a thrill like no other sport.

The Inside Track Image

What makes NASCAR special?

When you go to a NASCAR race, you will be with over one hundred thousand fans as part of an amazing sports experience! Many fans come to the race a few days early and camp with families and friends, sometimes even in the track's infield. On the track you will see incredible drivers pushing their cars to the limit, using currents of air from other cars to their advantage. When they stop in the pit, their crews can change tires, refuel the car, and make careful adjustments to the car, all without wasting a second. And after hours of adrenaline, fuel, and intensity, one car will cross the finish line as the winner!

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How to win a race

To be a winner at NASCAR, you have to be fast, but you also have to be smart! Your car can carry you to victory, but you need to know how to treat it. Each team has a plan for taking care of their car, and the team that has the best plan for each race wins. The tires wear out, and fresh tires go faster than old ones... but can you afford the extra seconds it will take to change them? Your car needs fuel to make it to the checkered flag, but you don't want to waste time stopping if you can make it to the finish line before your tank runs out. And what if you need a new plan? The weather might change everything!

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The nice cars of NASCAR

A Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race car requires thousands of hours from a team to build and prepare, with engineers and technicians working engines, chassis, shocks, and more. The result is a machine with over 725 horsepower, capable of speeds over 200 miles per hour! Despite all this power, the NASCAR race car is also designed to be as safe as possible to help protect the driver in case of an accident. For a car to be as fast as possible, it needs the right setup, which includes shocks and springs, gear ratios, chassis weight distribution, and much more. All of these factors have to be managed and adjusted and tweaked to get the car in the best racing condition. When a setup is accurate, the car is able to reach top speed, allowing the driver to have complete control. When the setup is inaccurate, the car isn't as fast and is harder to control, which means slower lap times. Everyone on the race team, led by the crew chief, works together to develop a winning setup.

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Time for a pit stop

Imagine filling up a car with fuel and changing all four tires in less than 15 seconds. That's what can happen during a NASCAR pit stop. As the race progresses, cars need to be refueled and worn tires need to be replaced, and all of that happens during pit stops. All it takes is one slow pit stop to move the race leader to the back of the pack, so every second is important! The crew in the pit can have seven people. There are two tire carriers, who carry the new tires over the pit wall and hand them to the tire changer. The two tire changers remove each tire with an air-powered impact wrench. The jackman carries a hydraulic jack to raise the car on both sides, one at a time, to let the tire changers do their jobs. There's a gas man who fills the car up with fuel. Behind the pit wall, other crew members help by passing fuel and tires to the rest of the crew. Last but not least, a NASCAR official watches to make sure everything is safe and to watch for anyone breaking rules.

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The Series

The Flags

  • Photo of green flag

    Green Flag

    Displayed at the start of the race and during restarts. The lead driver cannot be passed on the track before the green flag is waving.

  • Photo of yellow flag

    Yellow Flag

    Tells the drivers to slow down, and no passing is allowed. This flag comes out to signal a caution and may be needed if conditions are unsafe, such as debris on the track, a car wreck, or bad weather.

  • Photo of red flag

    Red Flag

    Signifies the race must be stopped immediately. This is usually for safety reasons that puts the drivers at too much risk.

  • Photo of black flag

    Black Flag

    If race officials have a concern with a car they may give it a black flag. Reasons for a black flag include dropping debris on the track or going too slowly. Drivers have five laps to respond to a black flag.

  • Photo of Black Flag with Diagonal White Stripe

    Black Flag with Diagonal White Stripe

    Any driver not obeying the black flag and pitting within five laps is shown this flag. They will not score in the race until they pit and NASCAR officials decide what to do.

  • Photo of Blue Flag with Diagonal Yellow Stripe

    Blue Flag with Diagonal Yellow Stripe

    This is the courtesy flag shown to drivers who aren't on the lead lap. It indicates that the slower driver needs to yield to faster drivers behind them.

  • Photo of White flag

    White Flag

    Shown when the lead driver begins the race's final lap.

  • Photo of Green-White Checkered Flag

    Green Checkered Flag

    Shown by the flagstand to signal the end of Stage 1 and Stage 2. Each race consists of three stages that contain a predetermined number of laps, referred to as Stage 1, Stage 2 and Final Stage.

  • Photo of Checkered  flag

    Checkered Flag

    The most famous flag, this is waved when the winner has crossed the finish line.