NASCAR WEEK: What is NASCAR?

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Hey y’all! I’m supa dupa excited to announce that it’s NASCAR Week here at GladiatHers.com! *cue applause* All his week we’ll be posting about NASCAR. The week will culminate in GladiatHers.com making an appearance at the Atlanta Motor Speedway for the Rinnai 250 and Active Pest Control 200 Races. Exciting, right?! Be sure to check the blog, Instagram and Twitter daily for updates and lots of great information. Today we’re kicking things off by making sure that you’ve got the basics of NASCAR down so that you know exactly what to expect and what’s going on on race day. So here’s the 411 on NASCAR.

What is NASCAR?

NASCAR stands for the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing and its name is mostly self explanatory. It’s a family-owned organization that sanctions and governs stock car racing events.

Besides driving in circles, how does it work? 

In every race there are 43 drivers, but there are several levels (or series) of races. The three most popular series are the top level “Monster Energy Cup” Series, the minor league “XFINITY” Series and the pick-up truck “Camping World Truck” Series. The winner of each series is determined over the season and is based on a point system. Points are determined by the position finished in a race and the number of laps led. Let’s take the Monster Energy Cup Series, for instance. From February 19, 2017, until  November 19, 2017, there are 36 races of which the first 26 are considered regular season races. The last 12 races are considered the playoffs and while 43 drivers compete, only the top 12 racers from the regular season are actually in The Chase for the Monster Energy Cup. The leader at the end of the season wins the Cup.

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What’s up with all the flags that are waved?

The GREEN FLAG starts or restarts a race because, obviously, green means go. The YELLOW FLAG means caution. Drives must slow down to line up behind the pace car because an accident or debris on the track makes driving conditions dangerous. The RED FLAG means drivers must stop on the track — in a designated area — because it inclement weather or poor track conditions make it unsafe for drivers to circle the track. The BLACK FLAG means that a driver must get off the track and go to the pit (the spot off the track where drivers get gas, new tires, or maintenance) immediately because he or she did something wrong or his or her car isn’t fit to be on the track. A BLUE FLAG WITH A YELLOW DIAGONAL STRIP alerts a driver that a faster, lead-lap car is about to pass them and he  or she must yield to that car. The WHITE FLAG means that the race leader has one lap to go in the race. The CHECKERED FLAG means a driver has crossed the finish line and won the race.

Why are there a bunch of company names on the cars and drivers’ uniforms?

The names on cars and uniforms are the corporate sponsors of the teams. The level of sponsorship determines the size and area of the placement on the car and uniform. Primary sponsors (companies who have spent from $5 million to $35 million on a team) get their name on the hood and multiple other areas of the car. Their name is also the most prominent on the uniform. Primary sponsors often also pick the car’s paint scheme and team colors. Associate sponsors have their names in smaller print and in positions not claimed by the primary sponsor.

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Who makes up  the team? 

While NASCAR may appear to be an individual sport, it’s anything but. Drivers race the cars, but teams compete. Like other sports, each team has an Owner who calls the shots and a Manager who acts as the liaison and enforcer for the owner. The Crew Chief manages the team in the most direct way. For instance, he determines which car will race, directs the team staff and optimizes car specifications. Although driving fast is one of the most important parts of racing, the Driver is responsible for more than driving. He or she must communicate how the car is operating, race conditions and strategies. The Crew consists of the mechanics, engine experts, tire experts, pit crew and lots of other individuals who are responsible for keeping the driver safe and optimizing the performance of the cars.

So there you have it. Now you’re ready to watch NASCAR and know exactly what’s going on! Be sure to share with your NASCAR challenged homies and stay tuned this week for so much more on NASCAR!!

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