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Reminder of what NOT to do when you see a yellow flag


MFE
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Or a black flag, or even a red flag. You do NOT just stand on the brakes, there are people behind you, and even if they see you, their brakes may not be as good. The Legends driver saw the yellow, and backed off. The Vette driver didn't see it until later, and probably had the "no passing under yellow" fear of God put in him, and the Miata driver arguably wasn't looking far enough ahead either. Still no excuse to drop anchor liket that.

 

 

 

Let's review the NASA flagging rules:

 

7.2 Yellow Flag - Motionless

Slow down. Danger ahead. ABSOLUTELY NO PASSING is permitted, until completely past the incident, or

until past next manned flag station that is not displaying any Yellow Flag(s), whichever comes first. There may

be one (1) yellow flag covering more than one incident. There may be several yellow flags before reaching the

emergency area. The requirements are still the same, “SLOW DOWN, NO PASSING.” [Ref:(25.4.1)]

 

Notice this does not say "stand on the brakes".

 

7.3 Yellow Flag - Waving

Great danger, slow down. Be prepared to stop. ABSOLUTELY NO PASSING is permitted, until completely

past the incident, or until past the next manned flag station that is not displaying any Yellow Flag(s), whichever

comes first. Note: There may be one (1) yellow flag covering more than one incident. [Ref:(25.4.1)]

 

This doesn't say "stand on the brakes" either

 

7.4 Double Yellow Flags

Full course yellow condition exists. Be prepared to encounter a Pace Car and/or emergency vehicles. Drivers

should not significantly slow down. Be prepared to encounter a slow moving pack and other local flag

conditions. Always obey the local flag conditions (e.g. waving yellow). ABSOLUTELY NO PASSING is

permitted, until the Pace Car (if on track) has pulled off AND the driver has passed the next manned flag station

that is not displaying any Yellow Flag(s). [Ref:(25.4.1)]

7.5

 

Neither does this. It even specifically says not to slow down much.

 

7.9 Red Flag

Emergency. Come to an immediate and controlled stop on the side of the track in a safe location.

 

Even in this case, it doesn't say "stand on the brakes in the middle of a 100-mph corner". Drivers encountering a red flag should be aware of their surroundings as they slow the car to a stop as soon as possible without causing a pileup behind them.

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The Vette driver didn't see it until later, and probably had the "no passing under yellow" fear of God put in him

 

This is exactly what I thought when I have watched the video. Last minute Vette sees the yellow and is in the middle of the pass on the Legend and his immediate thought is oh crap, I'm about to pass under yellow so the first instinct is to slam on the brakes. Had the Legend not been next to him I don't think there would have been the hard braking.

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This is exactly what I thought when I have watched the video. Last minute Vette sees the yellow and is in the middle of the pass on the Legend and his immediate thought is oh crap, I'm about to pass under yellow so the first instinct is to slam on the brakes. Had the Legend not been next to him I don't think there would have been the hard braking.

Probably true. I was in a scenario similar to this once. I was in the 'vettes shoes. I basically completed the pass and then pretty much immediately gave the spot back. It was talked about post-race. No harm, no foul.

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I had an experience last year that I'd like to share. I used to only lift a little for yellows, just give myself what I felt was a good cushion in case there was an engine laying in the middle of a blind corner. So this one day, the yellow comes out, and I reel back to a good, safe pace. Huge cushion, I could have missed and engine and transmission in the middle of this blind corner, but that's not what I found. Instead, there was an oil slick that I didn't see. I may as well have been on ice as the car understeered and then promptly oversteered. I nearly tarnished my dirtless record that day, quite the pucker factor. Since then, I've backed off even more for yellows, albeit not as abruptly as in the video.

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I know in hindsight this Corvette driver wishes he had reacted differently and we all make mistakes from time to time. Everyone needs to remember this and realize it's better to ask forgiveness for passing under the yellow than create a crash situation.

 

I was called aside for passing under yellow at a DE one time. I pointed out that I was getting a point by and neither the car pointing me by nor myself could see the yellow until I was fully beside him and the pass was completed before the flag stand. I was sent on my way with a warning.

 

Here are a couple of other rules that apply to this scenario.

 

6.5 Stopping On Course

Stopping on course is expressly prohibited unless it is an emergency. “Stopping” includes abrupt and/or

unexpected slowing to a near stop. Stopping to help a disabled car is prohibited. An emergency, for the

purposes of this section, is defined as only those events concerning medical problems, mechanical failure, onboard

fire, or damage from an incident that renders the vehicle unfit to continue.

 

25.5 Yellow Flag- Passing

A pass must be completed before the yellow flag station. This means that the overtaking driver must be

completely in front of the overtaken car before either vehicle breaks the plane perpendicular to the track as

defined by the yellow flag. Note- Drivers that attempt to “race to the yellow” to complete a pass may enter the

yellow zone too fast and not under full control; and therefore be penalized for failing to comply with the

conditions of the appropriate yellow flag rules.

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I had an experience last year that I'd like to share. I used to only lift a little for yellows, just give myself what I felt was a good cushion in case there was an engine laying in the middle of a blind corner. So this one day, the yellow comes out, and I reel back to a good, safe pace. Huge cushion, I could have missed and engine and transmission in the middle of this blind corner, but that's not what I found. Instead, there was an oil slick that I didn't see. I may as well have been on ice as the car understeered and then promptly oversteered. I nearly tarnished my dirtless record that day, quite the pucker factor. Since then, I've backed off even more for yellows, albeit not as abruptly as in the video.

 

Did you get a standing yellow for that, or a waving yellow?

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Dang, SA foul for me. I don't recall if it was waving or not. But it was least year, so I'm running with that.

 

My rule of thumb now is to slow down enough to run through an oil slick and stay on track. Now that I know how slippery they are, I have a better gauge on it.

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I was in a confusing yellow flag situation a few months ago in DE-2 (not a NASA event). Had an instructor in the car:

 

Approach a turn with a waving yellow. I slow down and see a car just off track. Get through the turn. Standing yellow is out for the next two turns but there is no visible cause for these yellows. As I turn onto the front straight there is a car moving slower than I would expect even under yellow. I thought this might be the cause of the standing yellows.....but he does not pit. And as I approach he gives me a point by.

 

I do not see a yellow flag at the next flag stand which is a long way off at the start/finish but I do not see green either. So I wave off the point by.

 

The instructor immediately tells me to go and make the pass. So I do what he says and pass. No other cars around. No problems. No black flag. The green is out at the start/finish but is just leaning against the guard rail.

 

By the rules cited above I should not have made the pass since we had not gone past the next flag stand without a yellow. Instructor said it was okay to pass because it was not a full course yellow. Again, no problems but it did confuse me a bit.

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Since it was not a NASA event NASA flag rules may not apply.

 

Did those two flag stands that displayed a standing yellow display a single yellow or a double yellow?

 

If the next flag stand is visible and there is definitely no yellow flag at that stand and you're clear of the previous flag stand and there is no visible cause for the previous yellow flags around you and it is for sure not a full course yellow situation, you can pass. Once you're clear of a yellow flag and the situation that brought about the yellow and the next station does not display yellow, good to go.

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They were single yellow flags. I could not see any flag at the start/finish but it is possible that my instructor did see the green leaning on the guard rail. Definitely no yellow flag on the tower (they were not using the tower). And given your explaination below then the instructor was right....which is usually the case.

 

We did not, however, ever see the reason for the flags in the previous two corners. The front straight was completely clear and we were the only two cars on it.

 

I guess if I had been alone in the car I probably would have stayed behind the slower car, possibly incorrectly. The only harm would have been that if traffic was heavy it would have started a train. In the future I will know better. It is good to know the rules down to the small details.........

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