Fan Info - INDYCAR 101 - Understanding The Sport - Starts and Restarts

Starts and Restarts

Starts And Restarts


All races 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 the next time across the starting line.
  • All drivers must maintain their relative position until the green condition is declared.


Single-file restarts will be in effect at all 2020 events. Following a yellow- or red-flag condition, the following procedures will be used to resume racing under green-flag conditions:

  • After the starter gives the “one lap to go” before return to green-flag conditions signal, cars must line up in single-file formation with no gaps or lagging between cars. For restarts with 15 laps or less remaining, cars not on the lead lap will be moved to the rear of the field.
  • The leader of the field under the yellow condition is required to maintain pace lap speed until reaching 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 the final turn 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.
  • All cars must maintain their respective track positions until the green condition is declared.
  • 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 shall determine the type and timing of any penalty as deemed appropriate to the orderly conduct of the race.