NASCAR 101 - 4 Deep Sports



Introduction to NASCAR:

Playing Surface:

  • Predominantly an oval shape, but few are not a set shape. 

Types of race tracks:

  • Short tracks: Laps that range from a half mile (0.5) to one (1) mile long.
  • Intermediate: Laps that range from a mile (1) in length or longer.
  • Superspeedways: Laps that range from two miles (2) in length or longer.
  • Road courses: Road courses are usually the longest laps. 

Race Length:

  • The number of laps depends on the length of the race and the length of the track.
  • Races range from 300-600 miles.

Starting Positions:

  • Qualifying races are held to determine the starting positions.
  • Determined by three (3) metrics:
    • Finishing position (50%)
    • Points position (35%)
    • Fastest race lap (15%)


  • If a race is started and rained out, it will pick up where it left off on a future determined date.


Each race has three stages to it.

  • Stage 1: Laps 1-60
  • Stage 2: Laps 61-120
  • Stage 3: Laps 121-End of Race

Points Scoring for Drivers:

  • Points are accumulated over each of the 36 races. There is a reset for the 16 drivers in the playoffs after the regular-season finale at Daytona.


  • Green – Go clean racing
  • Green & White Checkered – End of stage This flag is waved after a stage has been completed. After the first 10 drivers of the stage cross the finish line, the caution flag is waved. 
  • Yellow – Caution for an accident or debris – Drivers will slow down behind the pace car and drive cautiously around the track. 
  • Red – Stop – Drivers will stop on a designated area of the track. 
  • Black – Safety InfractionWhen the black flag is waved at a driver it means he must pit because he did something wrong or his car is not approved to be on the track. 
  • Black / White cross – No longer scored – This flag lets a driver know he did not answer the black flag and the driver is no longer being scored.
  • Blue – Course area caution This flag is not used on oval courses. The blue flag is used to let drivers know of stopped cars. 
  • Blue / Diagonal yellow stripe – PassingWhen the blue flag is waved, it means a faster car is about to lap them and they need to yield to that car, or a partially blocked track. A driver can be black flagged for not following this. 
  • White – Last lapThe white flag means the race leader is on his last lap.
  • Checkered – FinishWhen the checkered flag is waved, it means a driver has crossed the finish line and won the race.


  • Like all other sports, there are certain actions that get you in trouble and are not allowed.  See some of the penalties below.
    • Restart 
    • Stop and Go – Go back to pit and stop and go
    • Pass-through Penalty – Go back and drive through pit road at speed
    • One Lap Penalty – Go to pit and wait a lap before you go
    • Start at the rear – A number of different infractions pre race can cause this
    • Fines – $$
    • Loss of pit crew member


  • 16 drivers make the playoffs.  Based on points and wins during the regular season.
  • Elimination races then begin, where playoff drivers either move on or are eliminated.  16 to 8 to 4, each elimination round consists of three races, then the final race where only the 4 drivers left can win the championship. 
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