In all NASCAR series, if the caution is out for debris, accident, or inclement weather, the flagman will display the yellow caution flag and the pace car will pull out of the pits and turn on the yellow strobes on top and/or behind the car. One lap before a green flag, the pace car will shut off its lights to signal drivers that a green flag is coming.
Unlike most series in motorsport, owing to NASCAR's short-track roots, each track usually offers their own safety car, typically from the manufacturer, but in recent years, it has been a local dealer or association of regional dealerships-provided safety car. Tracks that use Toyota safety cars will use a Toyota Camry Hybrid, while Ford tracks will use a Ford Mustang, while Chevrolet tracks use a Chevrolet Camaro and most Dodge tracks use a Dodge Challenger. If a manufacturer is promoting a new vehicle, they will often use the new car instead of the standard-specification safety car.
For the Camping World Truck Series, often the Safety Car is a pickup truck, as the series races pickup trucks. Tracks affiliated with a local or regional Chevrolet dealership will use a Chevrolet Silverado, while Chrysler dealership affiliated tracks will use a Ram 1500. Ford-affiliated tracks will often use the F-Series, but Toyota-affiliated tracks are less likely to use the Toyota Tundra, but prefer marketing the Camry Hybrid. However, Ford and Toyota manufacturer sponsored tracks will prefer the Mustang and Camry, respectively, instead of a truck.
Since NASCAR does not allow speedometers or electronic speed limiting devices, the pace car circles the track at pit road speed during the warm-up laps. This allows each driver to note the RPM at which pit road speed is maintained. Drivers exceeding that speed on pit road will be penalized, typically a "drive-through" or "stop and go" penalty, costing them valuable track position.
Since mid-2004, NASCAR official Brett Bodine has driven the vehicle during official race functions during Sprint Cup Series races. Other famous NASCAR pace car drivers include Robert "Buster" Auton and Elmo Langley.
The Beneficiary Rule (informally known as the "Lucky dog" rule) states once the safety car is deployed, the first car not on the lead lap will regain a lap. The Beneficiary will regain his lap once pit road opens. Bodine will signal that car to pass him through radio contact between NASCAR and that team. The free pass car must pit with the lapped cars.
In 2009, NASCAR introduced a new "Double-file restart" rule that lines the field two cars on each row on every restart, similar to the start of the race, instead of lead-lap cars on the outside and lapped cars on the inside. Also, the "wave-around" rule, similar to what is enforced in the Indy Racing League was adopted to ensure the first car on the restart is the leader, and ensure there are no lapped cars ahead of the leader.
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