With Ryan Otis clinching his second straight Lionheart Retro Series presented by DMLC Racing Channel championship the focus now shifts to what has become the closest rookie of the year battles in league history.
Seven drivers are mathematically capable of winning the award. Trevor Malone currently sits the furthest back from Tommy Rhyne by 91 points. Malone sits 14th overall with 2 top 5’s and 2 top 10’s on the season and will need to dig deep and finish on the podium to have a good shot at being crowned this year’s top rookie.
Tommy Rhyne has been impressive in his rookie season in the Retro Series, currently sitting in 7th place overall, Rhyne has finished in the top 5 twice this year and has 8 top 10 finishes. Rhyne finished in 6th place at Michigan a track that is very much the same as Auto Club he is expected to be near the front before the checkered flag falls for the final time this year.
Jason Bosse who has reported his possible departure from the series for 2021 would love nothing more than to leave the series on a high note. Currently 7 points back from Rhyne after a 5th place finish at Laguna Seca, Bosse has shown his speed on the ovals and is the only rookie this season to secure a pole position. His main goal for the race will be to avoid trouble on track while trying to keep Rhyne in his mirrors.
Mike Rasimas is definitely sitting in a great spot to potentially take home the rookie of the year honors. Gaining two spots in the standings and sitting 8th overall, Rasimas has had a fantastic season despite having only completed 11 rounds. With 1 victory on the season and 7 top 5 finishes another podium run could be the ticket to stealing the top rookie spot.
One of three rookies this season to reach victory lane this year currently sits 21 points back from Rhyne. Ricky Hardin certainly has had a good season; his photo finish win came at Michigan when he edged out Dustin Wardlow to the line by 0.008 seconds. Hardin also has 2 top 5 and 6 top 10 finishes on the season. Hardin has had his share of DNF’s however, a situation of bad luck mainly, Hardin would love nothing more than to take home another big win and close out the season with the rookie top honors.
Richie Hearn dropped one spot in the rookie standings after having some early contact at Lagua Seca but is still in the fight just 23 points away from the top spot. Hearn who is only a rookie to the Retro Series in the sim world will definitely be using his real-world IndyCar experience this Thursday night at Auto Club when navigating his way through traffic. Hearn who has raced at Auto Club in real life certainly knows his way around the big oval. Richie currently sits with 4 top 5 and 9 top ten finishes this season.
Chris Ragan who is teammates with Hearn on Elite West Racing is 46 points back and 13th overall in the standings. Ragan has had a season similar to his teammate and has had some solid finishes on road courses this year but has been disappointed with his oval results. His best finish this season on an oval came at Pocono where he finished 3rd. Ragan has what it takes to run up at the front. Now it comes down to execution at Auto Club.
The winner of the Rookie of the Year Award presented by ButtKicker will win a $75 dollar purse along with a custom plaque, ButtKicker Gamer2 or Simulation Kit, SimVibe software key from SimXperience, SSD drive from HyperX and various other prizes from the league.
The DMLC Racing Channel Race for the Championship Presented by Sam Maxwell Customs will be live on the Global Sim racing Channel on Thursday, December 17th 2020 with coverage beginning at 9:35 pm CST.