Blue Flag Procedure

I just started entering club races at a local track, and this weekend I ran into a confusing situation during one of the heats. 10 lap heat, front runners were doing low 31 second times once their tires were warmed up, I was doing high 32s.

There was a big wreck early in the first lap, and I was stuck in the mess. Only the first 3 karts made it through, and it took about 20 seconds to get back on track. When I got out, I would guess that I was about 11-12 seconds “in front of” the leaders who were almost a lap up on me now. After 3 laps, I started getting blue flags at one left hairpin, but coming around the exit of the corner I could see that the lead pack was not even out of the turn prior to the hairpin yet. They were still probably about 7 seconds behind me. After another two laps, every marshal on each corner was blue flagging, but I could still see that when I was at the end of the front straight, the 3 karts on the lead lap were still just exiting the turn onto the straight.

I eventually slowed down to about half speed on the inside of the front straight on the next lap (7), and after 7 or 8 seconds of having my foot off the gas, the three karts passed me and I continued on. I am guessing at this point they would have been about 4 seconds behind if I had completely stopped.

Is it normal for the marshals to start showing blue flags when the lead karts are still several seconds behind? What is the correct thing for me to do in this case? I was prepared to hold my line and allow the leaders to pass, but they were not catching up to me fast enough to do that without slowing significantly, and only then after several laps of seeing the flag. Is my race just over if the leaders get within 10 seconds of me? I will add that these were all volunteers, some with limited experience. The marshal at the finish line showed the checkered flag to the class before us on lap 9. So I don’t know. Is this normal?

Personally I would not have lifted. That being said if there’s nobody near you and you are in back, lifting to let leaders by is a nice thing to do.

I was in 2nd when a guy lifted for me and the dude chasing me. I appreciated it.

I think waving the blue with them 5s behind is more to let you know that the guys approaching are the leaders rather than slow down.


I was worried about getting penalized because the first marshal to show me the flag originally was getting increasingly angry and more emphatic with his pointing and gesturing each lap. But when I’d look over coming around the turn, there was still nobody near me. Very confusing and pretty frustrating.

That is confusing. If the guy was visibly agitated maybe he was expecting you to lift and let them pass. In this scenario, I’d go ask the corner worker what’s up. If he seriously wants you to lift 5-7s back, you would have to literally be the last guy with no one chasing you. Imho.


Odd situation. Every series/club/org is probably different on this. Some high-level series black flag lappers to get them off the track before the leaders catch them. On local or regional series they allow the lappers to continue racing but give them blue flags. Sounds like you were blue-flagged pretty early though.

I would ask your race director or the marshals what the correct procedure was so you can have some clarity on what is expected of you when you are lapped. If you are looking for clarity on a rule, usually most race directors or officials will happily tell you how to better abide by their rulings.


I think TJ hit the nail on the head. We could argue until we are blue in the face about what is the “correct way” to abide by a blue flag, but ultimately, you have to do it the way your race director wants you to do it. Whether it is correct or not. Ask him for clarity in the next driver’s meeting. That way the whole group gets to hear it.


Our flagmen here usually hold the flag steady out and give you a number of fingers to signal how many drivers you have coming up. This probably happens about when it did for you. It’s just letting you know they are getting close and may lap you in 1-2 laps. When they are right on you, our flagmen will then wave the flag.

But it’s 100% on the overtaking driver to execute the move. My advice is don’t lift, drive your line, and signal which side you want them to pass on (if possible). You’ve got just as much right to be racing there as they do. As long as you aren’t blocking/defending, you’re not gonna get black flagged here.


Yeah I agree. Our flaggers never give out blue flags but if they did that would be the best way to do that.

OP, the fact that you knew where the faster drivers were and that they were coming up is a good sign. You did nothing wrong and im not sure why the flag was given the way it was. Only thing i would say is talk to your race director. If they are right behind you, what you do depends on the track. for a straight, lift when they are on your butt and point them by. Coming up on a tight corner, stick to the outside and brake early or coast early and point them by. You shouldnt have to wait 5 seconds to let them by, but that was the flaggers fault. I would be very confused as well

Same here. Blue flag procedure should be a topic in the drivers brief - for us it’s stay at speed and stay on your line. It’s on the overtaking driver to pass you. In reality once I can hear them right behind me I’ll point them by and lift just enough or go wide next corner and point them by.

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The intent of a blue flag is to inform you that you are going to be overtaken. Look over your club’s rules to see if there is a mandatory course of action when given the blue flag. Procedures vary from club to club and from one series to the next.

Typically, with a competent flag person/race control, you’ll get the blue flag when the leaders are expected to catch you by the next flagger or two or possibly just within the lap.

I generally acknowledge the flaggers anytime they throw a flag of any sort. I’ll always give a wave when I’m passing our head flagger with the half, 5 to go, etc. I’ve gave some less friendly acknowledgments, too.

Blue flag to me has always been hold your line, be predictable, and be aware some faster guys are coming. If you wave me by, great. If not, navigating lapped traffic is part of racing and I’m probably gonna use you as a pick to get a gap or make a pass.


I totally agree with this point. I would think lifting or slowing significantly is even more dangerous. I would expect the slower racers to hold a line, preferably slightly off line to allow the pass. It sounds like you were being shown the blue way early. AS mentioned by someone else I would expect to see the blue shortly before being caught. The joke we have when shown the blue is: There is about to be a race and you are not part of it.

Question for Steve…Do the marshals have radio communication from a race director or are they left to make their own decisions? Just wondering if the angry flagger had a friend that was leading your race?


In most cases the blue flag is considered an “advisory” flag so you’ll know they are coming. You don’t have to let them by but it usually better for everybody if you at least make it easy for them to get by. Each group will have different policies on this depending on how long the track is, how hard it is to pass on, etc… It could have been the lead pack was coming hot and heavy and having a great race and the officials didn’t want to mess that up with a lapper getting involved, or for your protection when they come streaming past, or maybe the person waving the flag is related to the driver in the lead. All of those situations have happened. Looking at it another way, what if you had gotten out of the wreck with your points rival in fourth or fifth position? Finishing ahead could clinch the championship! How should the situation be handled then? Don’t know. It’s tough to come up with rules for every possibility and whatever people come up with is going to piss off somebody. My feeling, traffic happens. The better the driver, the better they handle it. Acknowledge the flag man with a little wave or a thumbs up and drive your race. When they get close be predictable and don’t intentionally block anyone. It’s all you can do.

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They all had headsets. That’s why after the first lap that I got the flag from one corner, they all started showing it to me the next couple times around. If that wasn’t the case, and they were all blue flagging me individually, I would have probably pulled off. Lol

During the drivers meeting they had mentioned that the championship was still up for grabs (only one race after this particular weekend), and asked for the rookies/backmarkers to not interfere. So I understand the blue flag being one to obey quickly and carefully, and that’s part of why I was so confused to see it with the leaders so far back. It seems like I was taking it more seriously than the flag men.

I’m gonna guess the thing to do here was continue at pace but acknowledge the flag men by giving them the thumbs up or something. It doesn’t sound like they meant for you to sacrifice your pace but wanted you to be aware that they were coming.

If after you give them the thumbs up and next time by if they are vigorously waving flag at you and eyeballing you hard, then id start being confused as to what to do. That would indicate to me that they really want you to slow.

But, if that were the case I’d think it would be a better policy to point a furled black and get you off track. That’s effectively what they would be asking for if they want you to lift to let pass guys 5+ seconds back.

The whole scenario is a bit odd. They need to clarify things at the drivers meeting.

This. If I am battling and we are approaching lapped karts I will also likely attempt a pick (thanks TJ). Something to bear in mind as you get lapped initially. Don’t need to do anything about it, but be aware that the faster guys will try to use you as a chicane.