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Author Topic: Rookie Graduation Question  (Read 6988 times)
racemom2000
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« on: April 26, 2009, 07:21:40 PM »

The Rookie Program procedures state "extended competitive racing in the Rookie class once fundamentals are learned is not to be allowed". So what should be done when this is blatantly disregarded? If a rookie driver has won 5 feature races after 7 months of driving, isn't it time for that driver to move up?

I thought rookie status was given for a period of 3 months (with extensions approved by the USAC national headquarters)?

Can someone please explain this to me if I have it wrong?
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 09:27:39 AM by racemom2000 » Logged

Katherine Weaver
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sfreitas20
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« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2009, 09:08:45 PM »

I hope this isn't from one of our families in Tampa and especially hope it is not from one of the four of us that have worked so hard together to help our boys learn and grow on the track as a group.  We have been such a tight knit group and it would be a shame to see something like this drive a giant stake between us.

If it is from one of the Tampa families, I couldn't disagree with this more!
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Scott Freitas
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2009, 09:39:32 PM »

I would much rather see someone stay in Rookie longer than needed to ensure they are comfortable and ready rather than someone that moves up after the minimum of 3 races and is not ready.

If a caution comes out and it takes you an extra lap to acknowledge it, sorry, that’s something that should have been learned in Rookie.

If a driver plows into the car in front of them to pass instead of going around, again, something that should have been worked on in Rookie.

Same goes for lineups and a somewhat consistent line.  There is nothing that I hate more than someone that would rather see their kid flatfoot and plow through the field for a win rather than have them drive safely or god forbid use their brakes when needed.

The biggie is lineups, you get close and stay close to the car in front of you without making contact.  Using the car in front of you for brakes is rough driving, again, something that is worked on in Rookie.

But I guess the trophy is important, not the safety of the drivers.
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Frito
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2009, 10:03:30 PM »

I'll add my .02 before this post gets pulled down.  I think there are some problems with the Tampa track and the extreme lack of consistency with calls.  Rookie class and graduation isnt a problem in my opinion.  The 7 year old in question lives close to the track and practices 2 or 3 times weekly.  He has enjoyed the fruits of his labor with victories.  It could look biased but I don't think its the case here.  I have seen JR and Ray help others out just as much.  Although the car count has been down and the racing has been less than spectacular.  I hope it will get better and I'd like to see some of the USAC rules enforced that way we can get used to them prior to Indy.  We were shocked when USAC came in and ran the race their way and now that they are gone the rules havent been a part of the weekly program since.  Nascar can be a good example.  Jimmie Johnson has won 3 straight championships and maybe there has been some rule bending but regardless its obvious he has done his homework, practiced and wanted it more than the other 42.  We won't be moving our 6 year old driver up until he knows how it feels to win and lose.  I want him to make and learn from his mistakes and throw away a victory or two just so he knows how important every lap is.  Our rookies are good but they have alot to learn and will do so by racing with quality drivers like we have right now.
Jeff Freitas
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RBurns17
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2009, 10:13:54 PM »

It depends on what your beef with him being in the rookie class is. Is it because other kids can't win, or because he has perfected the aspects of racing the rookie program is meant to teach.

Yes I do believe a kid should move up, but only when they are completely ready to go race the next class. You have to think about more than just the kid winning races. Jr.Honda is by far one of the most competitive classes and just because a kid has everything down enough to win a rookie race doesn't mean he is comfortable enough to run the car with more HP and more competitive kids.
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racemom2000
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« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2009, 06:04:20 AM »

Thank you Frito and RBurns17 for seeing the point here. And sfreitas20, you've made some great & valid points (though I'm not referring to your child). Regardless of which club I'm referring to, my concern is that the Rookie program follow the rules & procedures as outlined by USAC [we "are" members of USAC, correct? And we should be following these rules & procedures, correct?]. It's not a matter of who's winning what (or atleast it shouldn't be). When a driver has covered the fundamentals in Rookie, then it's time to move on. And when "our" child reaches that point, I'll be one of the first to support that progression.

But as it stands, some of our drivers are at a disadvantage when a driver has clearly mastered the fundamentals but continues to drive Rookie. Of course there's other variables that come into play here, though for the sake of privacy for all parties I won't mention names or specifics.

All rookie drivers work very hard (true), but if rules & procedures are to be followed - let's follow them! When followed consistently, there isn't room to suspect calls [or lack thereof] are being made due to biased opinions. This means ALL rookie drivers have a fair & level playing field for learning & moving forward. Which is, afterall, the main objective right?

When I call USAC about the logbooks, I'll ask them about these Rookie Program issues as well.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 06:29:42 AM by racemom2000 » Logged

Katherine Weaver
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2009, 09:26:30 AM »

The driver need to move up, he will learn a lot more in the higher class and with the better drivers
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nashjr13
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« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2009, 01:12:44 PM »

Just in case.....My son is close to moving up(, and USAC and our handler feel 1-2 more races will give him enough experience to move up.  He just completed his 9th race of his young career, and he has won 2 races in a row. The end of May was our target date, but we had to move his Jr Honda start date to August. We have planned, paid for airline tickets, car rental, and Hotel rooms for the Indy July event.  The Indy race wouldn't be a good time for him to move up to Junior Honda.    FYI.........I have a log of every lap my son has completed during races and practice. 

I know for a fact that JR and Ray offer help to every race team at our track.  If a call could go either way, I can assure you that JR wouldn't give my son the edge since he is harder on him than anyone else.  I'm for driver's to learn the right way to race and winning is only part of the equation. 
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Larry Nash
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« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2009, 01:21:45 PM »

Crew Chief I really agree with your statement.  Drivers will learn more once they advance to the other classes.  I personally was amazed at what my granddaughter learned in just one season of racing with a very good driver and I to this day feel that experience was the best she could have gotten.  I really do not know why someone would keep a driver in Rookie if he/she is comfortable driving and displays the ability to drive safely and within the rules of QM.  After all there are no points and what goals are left if you win every rookie class?  The statements that Junior Honda and Senior Honda are competitive classes are very correct for both the driver and the handler.

I am sure USAC will suggest moving on up the ladder when the driver is ready to proceed rather than keeping them in Rookie.  Rookie Class is a basic learning class the other defining techniques are learned in the more advanced classes as we all know driving one track vs another may require adjustments let alone track heat and conditions.  I love to watch those Rookies they are just too precious.
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RBurns17
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« Reply #9 on: April 27, 2009, 07:34:33 PM »

Although, I can't imagine why anyone would want to stay in a rookie class more time than they had to. There's the chance for so much attrition on any given weekend, especially if you are considerably faster than the rest of the field. Our newest driver has been in the Senior Rookie division for one race and we are already counting down the time until he can move up. But he's had enormous testing time with our other drivers in simulated race conditions, so from a procedure standpoint, he's good to go.

If a kid is a lot faster than most of the drivers it opens to door for those less experienced to get nervous and make a mistake when that kid is flying by them. (Two bent axles in two weeks to prove this.) It's just normal rookie slip ups, our drivers have all made the same mistakes when they first started. But once they get past those, learn how to line up, watch the flags well, and can handle the next restrictor plate while keeping pace, it's best to move up.

It's always best to keep them in the rookie class until you can get them a few sessions with the next plate in, or even unrestricted. So maybe if the said family doesn't have to time to get out to the track and get some practice, then it's probably better safe than sorry for leaving them in the rookie class a little while longer.
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nashjr13
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2009, 11:08:29 PM »

I believe confidence is huge factor in the decision process when to move your driver to the next class as well. After hearing some of your opinions, I wish I could move my driver up, but I have 7 year old who is looking forward to driving at Indy in 10 weeks.
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Larry Nash
sfreitas20
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« Reply #11 on: April 28, 2009, 08:15:01 AM »

I could not agree more Larry.  Confidence is a huge part of it!
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Scott Freitas
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« Reply #12 on: April 28, 2009, 09:29:26 AM »

I still think your best off to move up yor driver after he learns the basic driving skills. my driver(my grandson) was moved up to jr honda after 7 races and I think it was the best thing for him to race with the better drivers. he is not winning like in the rookie class bur were in the top 3or4.By the way he is only 5 years old
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two_tenths_off
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« Reply #13 on: April 28, 2009, 12:13:51 PM »

This varies by driver and of course age. My 13 year old ran a total of three Novice races before moving up to Sr. Honda, and he was ready. While we are not running up front it is more a matter of the handler (me) figuring out how to prepare and tune the car than the driver. So far after about 10 races over this season and last not one bent part on the car.
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sfreitas20
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« Reply #14 on: April 28, 2009, 04:00:45 PM »

The problem at our track is the one that bends everybody elses parts is in Junior Honda, not Rookie. Wink
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Scott Freitas
Patriot Motorsports Inc.
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