Fan Info - INDYCAR 101 - Procedures and Rules - Starts and Restarts

Starts and Restarts


All races, with the exception of standing start events, will begin with a rolling start. All drivers must position their cars in their proper locations in two-wide or three-wide (Indianapolis 500) alignment during the final parade lap and must remain in position unless mechanical difficulty occurs. In the event that a driver drops out due to mechanical difficulty, the remaining cars in the field must maintain their assigned positions unless otherwise directed by Race Officials.

  • Cars dropping out on the parade or pace laps may be considered cause for delaying the start.
  • An official safety car will be used to pace the field and will have its flashing lights on during the parade and pace laps.  At the appropriate time, the flashing lights will be turned off, indicating the intent to start the race next time across the starting line.
  • After the green condition is declared, all drivers must maintain their relative positions crossing the start line.


At road and street course events a standing start may be used.

  • A countdown to the start will begin.
  • At the end of the formation lap, the Safety Car will pull away from the field and the field will take their starting positions. The front wheels of the car must remain behind the grid line.
  • A 5-second declaration will be made via radio by the Race Director prior to the start of the light sequence.
  • The red lights will illuminate one by one. The race starts once all red lights go out.
  • A false start shall be declared when a car moves forward or is out of its assigned position during the lighting sequence.
  • A penalty will be imposed for a false start judged by the officials.Decisions by the officials are not subject to protest and appeal.
  • If the start is aborted, the yellow lights will illuminate. Instructions will be given to teams via the radio. The starting procedure may be modified and the Safety Car will be dispatched. Any competitors whose actions result in an aborted start will restart from the rear of the field.


Following a yellow or red flag condition, the following procedures will be used to resume racing under green flag conditions.

  • The cars will be in two single-file lines behind the official safety car. The race leader will restart on the inside lane with the second-place car lining up alongside. The remaining cars will line up side-by-side behind the safety car in the following order: lead lap cars that did not pit, lead lap cars that did pit, non-lead lap cars that did not pit, non-lead lap cars that did pit, any cars waved around at one-lap to go signal, any cars that have been penalized.
  • The leader of the field under yellow condition is required to maintain pace lap speed until the leader reaches a designated point (restart cone) where the leader is required to accelerate smoothly back to racing speed and the green condition will be declared.
  • The restart cone is usually located between Turn 4 and the start-finish line on an oval or the final two turns of a road or street course and is marked with a bright orange cone (usually on the top of the outside wall of the track).
  • If the leader or any other car accelerates before the restart cone, the restart may be waved off and/or cars may be penalized.
  • No car may pass before the green condition is declared and they must maintain their lane position until crossing the start-finish line.
  • If the leader does not accelerate at the restart cone, the starter will show the green flag to the field to accelerate.
  • The Race Director in his discretion shall determine the type and timing of any penalty he deems appropriate to the orderly conduct of the race.