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NASCAR Flags (U.S.)

Last modified: 2018-12-29 by rick wyatt
Keywords: united states | nascar | auto racing | racing: auto | texas | dale earnhardt |
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[NASCAR flag] image by Rick Wyatt

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NASCAR uses the same flags as formula one with few exceptions

  • Green Start the race, or Re-start after a caution period
  • Black Go immediately to the pit area
  • Red Stop. Race is halted for unsafe condition
  • Yellow Drive with caution and maintain position
  • Blue with Orange Stripe Car attempting to pass
  • White Beginning last lap, or service vehicle on track
  • Checkered Race has been completed

There is a myriad of different NASCAR and NASCAR-related flags out there, and a great deal of them are novelty flags. For example, there are multiple different flag designs sold to fans of specific drivers: flags that feature the driver's likeness, the driver's car number, the likeness of the driver's car or sponsors. There are also flags that highlight a driver's accomplishments, such as Cup Championships or specific races won. I don't plan to delve into all of those countless flags and their variations, unless there is a real interest from the group in doing that. My plan right now is to focus on the flags that NASCAR uses to represent itself and its subsidiary organizations and racing series, as well as highlighting the changes to any flags that are used during the races themselves.
Randy Young, 8 November 2014

Winner's Checkered Flag (pre-2004)

[NASCAR 2001 Daytona 500 Winner's flag] image by Randy Young, 5 April 2001

The checkered flag contains an orange circle with the numbers "76" in blue outlined in white, which is the official logo of 76 Gas, owned by UNOCAL, the official fuel-provider of NASCAR. NASCAR mandates that all cars use the exact same fuel, making sure that no driver has an unfair advantage over the others. Since 76 supplies that fuel, and has done so for the last 40 years, 76 gets the honor of having their logo on the official checkered flag.

A tradition has also developed in the past few years that the winner of each race is given a checkered flag featuring the 76 logo, the name of the race in orange above the logo, and the date of the race below the logo in orange. This example is from the 2001 Daytona 500.
Randy Young, 5 April 2001

Sunoco Winner's Checkered Flag (from 2004)

[NASCAR Sunoco Winner's flag] image by Randy Young, 8 November 2014

Beginning with the 2004 NASCAR season, UNOCAL 76 was replaced by Sunoco as the official fuel-provider of NASCAR, and the checkered flag was updated to reflect that change. The 76 logo was replaced by the Sunoco logo, and the name and date of the race were removed. The current checkered flag design has been in use for the past 10 seasons.
Randy Young, 8 November 2014

Dale Earnhardt Sr. Tribute Flag

[Texas flag with Dale Earnhardt 3] image by Randy Young, 2 April 2001

While watching the Harrah's 500 at Texas Motor Speedway, I noticed an odd-looking flag. Normally when I watch the races I see a lot of Confederate battle flags, checkered flags, flags of race teams, and whichever state they happen to be racing in. Yesterday, flying over Victory Lane at the speedway was what I can only assume to be a Dale Earnhardt memorial flag.

Since NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt was killed in the season-opening Daytona 500, tributes to him have been popping up everywhere. The flag I saw yesterday was based on the Texas state flag, with the blue bar replaced by black (the color of Earnhardt's car) and the star replaced by a white "3" (Earnhardt's car number).
Randy Young, 2 April 2001


[NASCAR GREEN Effort flag] image by Randy Young, 8 November 2014

Beginning with the 2008 season, NASCAR has partnered with American Ethanol as part of the sport's environmentally-conscious NASCAR GREEN effort. And, of course, there was sponsorship money involved. As part of the sponsorship and advertising efforts, American Ethanol became the official sponsor of the sport's green flag to start and resume racing. In all TV and radio broadcasts of NASCAR races, it is officially referred to in every instance as "the American Ethanol green flag." The flag is the traditional green flag waved in virtually all forms of auto racing, but with the name and logo of American Ethanol added in a lighter shade of green.
Randy Young, 8 November 2014

[NASCAR GREEN Effort flag] image by Randy Young, 5 October 2015

The NASCAR Green is an initiative undertaken by NASCAR to encompass all of its many efforts to help protect the environment. You can read about all of NASCAR's efforts at, including tire recycling, carbon emissions, and bio-fuels.

The NASCAR Green initiative has its own flag, often seen at the track with other NASCAR flags. The flag is green with the NASCAR Green logo in white centered. The logo consists of a white version of the traditional NASCAR logo with the word "GREEN" beneath and toward the fly a square to represent a waving flag with an arc through it.
Randy Young, 5 October 2015

Pole Award flag

[Pole Award flag] image by Randy Young, 11 November 2014

The "pole position" is the term for the first starting position in the field of cars for a race. It is generally seen as both an honor and good racing strategy to start from the pole position, as that driver has a clear and open track in front of him or her, with the entire rest of the racing field behind them, allowing them an unfettered start to the race.

In NASCAR, qualifying for a race takes place up to two days prior to the event, with drivers trying to make their fastest lap around the track. The driver with the fastest qualifying lap wins the pole position for that race. That award is sponsored by Coors Light in their capacity as "the official beer of NASCAR," as the Coors Light Pole Award. In addition to the pole award trophy and cash prize, the pole-winning driver also receives a flag.

The Coors Light Pole Award flag measures roughly 12 inches by 18 inches. The top 80% of the flag features the Coors Light Pole Award's silver, white, black, and red logo. The bottom of the flag consists of a black stripe with the location of the race and the year in white letters.

An example of the flag is shown. I drew this flag to represent the flag won by driver Danica Patrick when she captured the pole position for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Daytona 500 in February 2013, becoming the first female driver to win a pole position in NASCAR's top racing series.
Randy Young, 11 November 2014

Daytona International Speedway

[Daytona International Speedway flag] image by Randy Young, 16 February 2015

Daytona International Speedway is owned by International Speedway Corporation, which is partly owned by the France family, who also own and operate NASCAR. The flag of Daytona International Speedway is a checkered flag with the speedway logo centered. The speedway logo features the name of the speedway in all-capital black letters. Above the name of the speedway are six racing flags that appear to be flying in the wind: red, green, black, yellow, checkered, and blue with a yellow diagonal.
Randy Young
, 16 February 2015

Phoenix International Raceway

[Phoenix International Raceway flag] image by Randy Young, 2 April 2015

The Phoenix International Raceway flag features the track's logo centered on a light blue field. The logo itself shows a black silhouette of a mountain range with an orange setting sun. There's a blue diagonal oval encircling the logo, representing the track, and the name of the facility in blue and black lettering.
Randy Young
, 2 April 2015