NASCAR Rules Guy

NASCAR by the numbers

December 20, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

by-thenumbers

Fans connect to their favorite drivers via numbers

Numbers help define NASCAR. Lap times and speeds are measured in miles per hour and seconds, and then there's historic numbers -- such as seven championships for Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, or 88 career wins for Jeff Gordon. Perhaps no numbers are more meaningful to fans, though, as car numbers. It's how fans spot their favorite drivers on the track, and it instills a sense of loyalty. It's why you see so many Earnhardt fans still holding on to all those "3" shirts. Those car numbers don't always last an entire career, however. For example, prior to the 2013 season, Matt Kenseth had driven the No. 17 for Roush Fenway Racing in every race from 2000-2012 (466 total). When he moved to Joe Gibbs Racing, he did not take the No. 17 with him. Instead, he got in a car with a number already allotted to JGR -- the 20. From 2008-2012, both Tony Stewart and Joey Logano had driven that car. The numbers aren't owned by teams, though. NASCAR owns all numbers and assigns them to car owners. The sanctioning body maintains the right to revoke or transfer any number at any time. Because NASCAR owns the rights to all numbers, car ... Read More

Fans connect to their favorite drivers via numbers

Numbers help define NASCAR. Lap times and speeds are measured in miles per hour and seconds, and then there's historic numbers -- such as seven championships for Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty, or 88 career wins for Jeff Gordon. Perhaps no numbers are more meaningful to fans, though, as car numbers. It's how fans spot their favorite drivers on... Read More

NASCAR racing flags

December 13, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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Find out what each flag means in a NASCAR race

Racing flags give NASCAR officials the ability to communicate with drivers during races. The flagman, perched in a stand high above the start/finish line, waves the appropriate flag when necessary. The eight flags: 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 waving. Yellow flag: Signals a caution, which tells drivers to slow down to a predetermined speed. Debris on the track or a wreck are typically the chief culprits for this flag. Red flag: Signifies the race must be stopped immediately, regardless of the cars' position on the track. This is usually for safety reasons -- for example, a red flag was issued following Juan Pablo Montoya's collision with a jet dryer at the 2012 Daytona 500. Black flag: Think of the black flag as the "consultation flag." Whichever driver is given the black flag must respond to a concern from NASCAR. Common examples include speeding on pit road, dropping debris on the track or failing to maintain the minimum speed on the track. Drivers have five laps to respond to the black flag... Read More

Find out what each flag means in a NASCAR race

Racing flags give NASCAR officials the ability to communicate with drivers during races. The flagman, perched in a stand high above the start/finish line, waves the appropriate flag when necessary. The eight flags: Green flag: Displayed at the start of the race, and during restarts. The lead driver cannot be passed on the track before the green ... Read More

Freezing the field

December 13, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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When a caution comes out, the field is "frozen", but what does that mean?

In September of 2003, with an eye on further ensuring the safety of competitors, NASCAR announced that racing back to the caution was no longer permitted in all three of the sport's national series. That rule change led NASCAR to institute a procedure where the field is "frozen" on the track once the caution comes out. So what exactly does "freezing the field" entail? ... Read More

When a caution comes out, the field is "frozen", but what does that mean?

In September of 2003, with an eye on further ensuring the safety of competitors, NASCAR announced that racing back to the caution was no longer permitted in all three of the sport's national series. That rule change led NASCAR to institute a procedure where the field is "frozen" on the track once the cau... Read More

How pit road speed limit is calculated

December 13, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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Pit road speed -- how is it calculated, why does it matter and how does it come into play?

There isn't a policeman hiding behind the pit wall with a radar gun and there aren't speedometers in NASCAR racing vehicles. So how do teams and officials measure pit-road speed limits with a certain amount of precision? We've all seen it happen -- a driver will seem to be minding his own business, making his way down pit road when all of a sudden he gets word that he's been penalized for speeding. But this is NASCAR -- cars are supposed to go fast, right? Yes, but during certain points of the race and in certain locations a particular speed needs to be maintained in order to establish safety for drivers, pit crews and fans. This comes into play on pit road because of the potential frenzy of 43 cars trying to beat each other to the line for track position. Sure, this all makes sense, but in a NASCAR world where more than two miles separates the largest from the smallest tracks, how is this speed calculated? And is it the same for all tracks? The pit road speed varies from track to track, with shorter ones (Bristol, Martinsville, New Hampshire) exhibiting a slower speed than the behemoths o... Read More

Pit road speed -- how is it calculated, why does it matter and how does it come into play?

There isn't a policeman hiding behind the pit wall with a radar gun and there aren't speedometers in NASCAR racing vehicles. So how do teams and officials measure pit-road speed limits with a certain amount of precision? We've all seen it happen -- a driver will seem to be minding his own business, making ... Read More

Road course group qualifying explained

June 20, 2013, Staff report , NASCAR.COM

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Sprint Cup to have several cars on track for Coors Light Pole Qualifying

The new qualifying rules for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at road courses should be familiar to fans of the NASCAR Nationwide Series: • Cars will be assigned to one of five or six groups based on first practice speeds, slowest to fastest. • Each qualifying group will be on-track for a set period of time, determined by the Series Director, and each car likely will receive three laps at full speed. • A car’s best lap time during its session will be the qualifying lap time of record. • A group’s time begins when the first car receives the green flag at the start/finish line. “The new format of qualifying at Watkins Glen International enhances the fan experience which is our top priority," President of Watkins Glen Michael Printup said earlier this year. “Qualifying on Saturday for our Cheez-It 355 at The Glen is even more of a not-to-be missed aspect of a weekend of high-quality racing.” The new qualifying has already undergone a test run at Sonoma Raceway earlier this year. In that event, Jamie McMurray won the Coors Light Pole, edging out Marcos Ambrose. Both drivers were in the final group to qualify. ... Read More

Sprint Cup to have several cars on track for Coors Light Pole Qualifying

The new qualifying rules for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series at road courses should be familiar to fans of the NASCAR Nationwide Series: • Cars will be assigned to one of five or six groups based on first practice speeds, slowest to fastest. • Each qualifying group will be on-track for a set period of time, determined by the ... Read More

How new qualifying impacts the Duels

February 11, 2013, Staff report , NASCAR.COM

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New format places premium on speed and top-15 finish in Duels

Without the top-35 rule, the first race of the season, the Daytona 500, might be missing some of the sport’s biggest stars. The new starting lineup will be made up of the fastest 36 cars and the top six in owner points that didn’t qualify on speed, and the final position will be saved for a past champion, as long as they raced the previous season. If that spot isn't used by a former champ, it will go to the seventh racer in owner points. So what does this mean for the Daytona 500? VIDEO: John Darby explains Daytona 500 qualifying. As long as you finish first and second on qualifying day and in the top 15 in your Duel, you’re locked in. But after that, positions 33-36 transfer in from being fastest in qualifying (if they aren’t already locked in) and 37-42 go to the top six in owner points. Forty-third will be a past champion or another based on owner points. Drivers like Matt Kenseth (18th), Joey Logano (21st), Kyle Busch (13th) and Carl Edwards (16th) need to be careful. Kenseth is the defending Daytona 500 winner, and Edwards and Busch know their way around Daytona. But first they have to make it in. ... Read More

New format places premium on speed and top-15 finish in Duels

Without the top-35 rule, the first race of the season, the Daytona 500, might be missing some of the sport’s biggest stars. The new starting lineup will be made up of the fastest 36 cars and the top six in owner points that didn’t qualify on speed, and the final position will be saved for a past champion, as long as they raced the pre... Read More

Sprint Unlimited

January 21, 2013, Staff report , NASCAR.COM

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Fans will vote on competition of the newly titled Sprint Unlimited at Daytona. The 75-lap, non-points race opens the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

There are three competition-related voting categories: Length of each of the three segments - Choice A: 40 laps, 20 laps, 15 laps - Choice B: 35 laps, 30 laps, 10 laps - Choice C: 30 laps, 25 laps, 20 laps * Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. 13. Team pit stop after the first segment - Choice A: No pit stop - Choice B: Two (2) tire change - Choice C: Four (4) tire change * Voting ends at the green flag of the first segment. How many cars will be eliminated after the second segment - Choice A: None (0) - Choice B: Two (2) - Choice C: Four (4) - Choice D: Six (6) * Voting ends at the green flag of the first segment. ... Read More

Fans will vote on competition of the newly titled Sprint Unlimited at Daytona. The 75-lap, non-points race opens the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

There are three competition-related voting categories: Length of each of the three segments - Choice A: 40 laps, 20 laps, 15 laps - Choice B: 35 laps, 30 laps, 10 laps - Choice C: 30 laps, 25 laps, 20 laps * Voting ends at 11:59 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Feb. ... Read More

New rules for paint schemes in 2013

January 03, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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The new cars in 2013 aren’t just getting a physical makeover – the way they are wrapped will be different as well.

Some differences include the driver’s last name being on the windshield; a single sponsor being allowed on the roof; decals are allowed to extend past the front edge of the b-post; team logos permitted on the front bumper; decals no longer allowed on headlights or taillights; and the car number moved to the front and rear bumper. ... Read More

The new cars in 2013 aren’t just getting a physical makeover – the way they are wrapped will be different as well.

Some differences include the driver’s last name being on the windshield; a single sponsor being allowed on the roof; decals are allowed to extend past the front edge of the b-post; team logos permitted on the front bumper; decals no longer allowed on headlights or taillights; and the ... Read More

2013 competition changes

January 03, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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NASCAR announced a number of competition changes for the 2013 season, highlighted by a new qualifying format in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that places a greater emphasis on speed. A breakdown of next season’s slate of competition updates:

In NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, the series will move to a 36-6-1 format where the fastest 36 cars will make the race on speed. The next six highest ranking cars in owners points that have not already earned a starting position through qualifying and who have entered the event by the posted entry deadline will also make the field. The final starting position will be awarded to the most recent eligible past champion driver. If there is no eligible past champion driver, then a seventh car will make the field based upon owners’ points. Provisional positions in the 36-6-1 format will be lined up by owners’ points, not speed. Since 2005, the top 35 cars in owners’ points were guaranteed a spot in the field. Now, only a maximum of seven cars will be locked into a given race. 

“This is a big win for our fans,” said Robin Pemberton, NASCAR vice president of competition. “They’ll see the fastest cars earn their starting spots. This change a... Read More

NASCAR announced a number of competition changes for the 2013 season, highlighted by a new qualifying format in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series that places a greater emphasis on speed. A breakdown of next season’s slate of competition updates:

In NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competition, the series will move to a 36-6-1 format where the fastest 36 cars will make the race on speed. The next six highest r... Read More

Capping the field at 43

January 03, 2013, , NASCAR.COM

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In NASCAR’s infancy, seeing more than 70 cars on the track was always a possibility -- especially at tracks such as Darlington Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. A standard field size evolved along with the sport.

At first, entries gradually decreased due to prevailing economic hardships. Fields that were once 75 became fields of 40 as recent as 20 years ago -- and the number was closer to 30 cars on smaller tracks. At that point, fields were tailored to individual tracks and lacked a consistent method. Those numbers ticked upward to 42 and 36, respectively, until NASCAR -- which had long discussed the need to standardize fields -- implemented a mandatory 43-car field for all three national circuits for the 1998 season and beyond. The first 36 spots are decided in time trials, while spots 37-42 are determined with four provisionals. The 43rd position is reserved for a former Sprint Cup champion that has not otherwise qualified. ... Read More

In NASCAR’s infancy, seeing more than 70 cars on the track was always a possibility -- especially at tracks such as Darlington Speedway and Daytona International Speedway. A standard field size evolved along with the sport.

At first, entries gradually decreased due to prevailing economic hardships. Fields that were once 75 became fields of 40 as recent as 20 years ago -- and the number was closer ... Read More