Fans new to racing may be wondering when they get to the race track what exactly is happening and why. The following information will provide with a guide what happens on a typical race night.
Hotlaps – Practice Session
Once the racing surface has been prepped and is race ready, the track is ready for the competitors to do a few practice laps at full throttle. Hotlaps gives the competitors an opportunity to spin the tires, see how their car handles in the corners and on the straight aways before the qualifiying session, or Heats, begin. This is also a great opportunity for drivers who have made changes to their car to test the modifications out, as well as giving new drivers an opportunity to do a few laps and get a feel for the race track. Hotlaps are usually only two to three laps per class. The track officials usher them off as quickly as they get them onto the track to keep the racing on schedule.
Heats – Qualifying Session
The Heats, or Qualifying Session, for each Class will decide how all the competitors will be lined up for the main event, or Feature Race. The Heat Races have a minimum five cars and a maximum of nine cars per race. The Competition Director will determine the formula for the race night. (e.g. 10 cars, 2 heats / 21 cars, 3 heats).
The Heat Races will be 6 laps. If there are 8 or more cars in a Heat, then the Heat Race will be 8 laps. A driver can only start the Heat Race that he/she was scheduled to start. If a car is unable to start the race, all cars behind that car’s position will advance one position. Once the Heat Race is complete, the top 3 cars in that race must scale. They are weighed to ensure they meet the minimum weight specifications for their class.
Features – Main Event Race
A regular feature race is 15 laps and has 20 minute time limit (exception: Red Flag). A Feature Race designated as a special event can either be 20 or 25 Laps and has a 30 minute time limit.
If time exceeds the limit on a feature race, the competition director initiates the “YELLOW FLAG RULE”, which is indicated to the drivers with a rolled up Yellow Flag and extended Black Flag. If a competitor causes another Caution, that driver will automatically be sent to the pits and will not be allowed to return to the race. If the number of laps left on lap board are excessive, the Competition Director will reduce them to two during a caution and the race will go Green, White, Checkered. That is, the competitors will go Green to restart the race, race back to the flagstand and have one lap left, and then the checkered flag will be thrown, ending the race. Once the Feature Race is complete, the top 5 cars in that race must scale. They are weighed to ensure they meet the minimum weight specifications for their class.
All drivers must know and understand the Starter’s flags. The Starter is the Flagman. The Flagman is in charge and has complete control of procedures while the race is going on. Along with the Flagman, there are two additional Race Marshals between turns 1 and 2 and turns 3 and 4. The Flagman will use several different flags to communicate with the drivers. You may notice several amber signal lights positioned around the track. The Flagman controls these signal lights as well. Failure to obey the flags, lights, or the officials instructions may result in disqualification.
GREEN FLAG – Start Or Continue Racing
The Green Flag signals the start of the race, or a re-start after if a race was previously interrupted. A rolled up green flag indicates to the competitors that they are one lap to green flag start. A waving green flag at the start of the race indicates a good, clean start. If one of the competitors accelerates prior to the green flag being thrown and causes a false start the Flagman can, at his discretion, hold the green flag out without waving. That indicates a false start, and allows the competitors to stay on the throttle through the first two turns to prevent a pile up. Once the cars clear the first two turns, the yellow flag will be thrown and the caution lights come on to slow the racers down for a re-start.
YELLOW FLAG – Caution – Slow To Pace Speed
The Yellow Flag signals some hazardous conditions on the track. That means competitors are required to slow down immediately and be prepared to drive behind the pace vehicle. No passing is allowed during the period of time the yellow flag is waved. The yellow flag is also joined by amber lights positioned around the track. As mentioned before, passing is strictly prohibited, unless we’re talking about wrecked cars. When the Race Marshals signal a rolled up yellow flag, it means the caution period is about to end and it is one lap to a green flag restart.
RED FLAG – Danger – Stop
The Red Flag means the race will be immediately stopped due to unsafe conditions. Competitors must stop as quickly and safely as possible and remain stopped unless directed to move by safety or fire crews. The race is stopped until the safety or fire crew and ambulance crew reach and clear the accident area. The red flag could mean a temporary suspension of the race due to a severe accident or a multi-car crash.
BLACK FLAG – Leave The Track Immediately
The Black Flag usually means a driver has done something wrong during the race – broke a sporting rule, suspected of careless driving, or has a mechanical issue with the vehicle. The black flag usually means the competitor is disqualified for that race unless otherwise notified. The car must leave the track immediately and go directly to the designated pit area. The competitor may be allowed to resume racing if the mechanical problem is resolved.
A rolled up black flag shaken at a competitor is a strict warning to the driver to that is suspected of careless driving. If this persists that competitor will be given a waving black flag and be subsequently disqualified.
If there is an excessive amount of cautions during a race, the Flagman, at his discretion, can roll up the black flag with an unfurled yellow flag during the caution lap as a warning to all the competitors that the next driver to cause an additional caution will be automatically disqualified from the race.
BLUE FLAG WITH YELLOW STRIPE – You Are Being Lapped – Hold Your Line
The Blue Flag with Yellow Stripe is usually signaled to a slower driver who is about to be lapped by another car. This flag may also be shown during a practice or qualifying session, meaning that a faster car is approaching. If a slower car is blocking the way for the leaders, the Flagman will show the Blue & Yellow flag. “There is a race going on, and you’re not in it”. You are about to be lapped by the leader(s), hold your position, allow the up-coming cars to have the racing groove. Do not make sudden moves to left or right.
WHITE FLAG – Last Lap
The White Flag means that the leader of the race has entered the last lap and has to hold on to the lead for one more lap. The white flag is waved at the leader of the race and then held unfurled for the rest of the competitors until the checkered lap is waved.
CHECKERED FLAG – Race Is Over
The Checkered Flag signals the official end of the race. The only time a race stops without this flag being waved is under red flag. The Flagman will show the Checkered flag when the race winner first crosses the finish line. Cars are scored in the order they cross the finish line. The race is completed and the unofficial results are complete. The cars as designated by the Race Director in each class must report directly to the weigh scale and tech area for claims, protests and tech.
In accordance to the Wissota Rule Book, when a race is stopped after the completion of at least one lap, the cars will line up in the order in which they were running at the completion of the last full lap before being stopped. The car or cars causing the race to be stopped, if any, shall start at the rear. If a car causes a race stoppage twice in the same race, that race car will be sent to the pits, but will be scored and receive points for its finishing position as if it had dropped out of the race at that time A race may be stopped at the discretion of the Competition Director or Track Officials at any time they consider it dangerous or unsafe to continue. If a car loses front bumper or back bumper or fuel cell guard, the car must go to the pits for the remainder of the race.
Red River Co-op Speedway uses a double file restart. Also know as a Delware Double-File Restart, the race restarts see the leader of the race setting alone in front of the field with the second place driver having the option to restart from either the inside row or outside row and all other competitors lining up side-by-side accordingly thereafter. The Fourth place car will always be inside row three.
At the discretion of the Competition Director, if track conditions warrant that we go back to a single-file restart, a single-file restart will be used in the spirit of good and fair competition or if 5 laps or less remain in the event.
On a single-file restart, a pylon is placed on the frontchute infront of the flagstand. Once the racing field is properly aligned and they come back for the green flag, the leader will restart the race when he passes the pylon. The remainder of field must stay nose to tail and may not pass the car in front of them until passing the restart pylon. Passing before the pylon, hitting the pylon or going beneath the pylon during the restart will result in a disqualification.