Well the 2013 season marked the first time a single rookie failed to score any points during the first round of the championship series. Out of 11 rookies none of them managed to scrape a Top 32 position for the weekend. The question must be asked if the new qualifying structured hindered the performance of these rookies or changed the dynamic of the sport? I am convinced the new qualifying order helps these lower ranked drivers but the evidence sure doesn’t play in my favor at all.
The rookie race last year was ridiculous and invalid with Daigo Saito being granted rookie status after being a Formula Drift Asia champion really reducing the value of the prize overall. These rookies are in a fight to reclaim the validity of the position and chase an opportunity similar to Fredric Aasbo who took home rookie of the year honors and then replaced Tanner Foust as the driver of Papadakis Racing.
Many of the drivers staged for a rookie season were plagued with mechanical failures or just lacked an all around ability to complete the difficult Streets of Long Beach course. The last few seasons we have watched many rookies wad up a new chassis and never really return to the series or underperform the whole season. One positive note is that most of the rookies came out of Long Beach clean with the exception of Kory Keezer and his S13.
I am excited that we have an 11 way tie after one round of Formula Drift this season and all the rookie should keep an eye on this prize above all else as they swing through the new year. At least for 2013 we have our rookie race back! What rookie do you think can win the rookie race?