The top seven cars in the Touring Car class were separated by just tenths of a second at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in May. Michael Shawhan pulled off the TC win in his BMW E46 M3.

Q: Why is it that even after I complete my provisional competition license, I still have to run four more races to remove the rookie marks and orange plate?

A: According to the Club Codes and Regulations you are required to display and orange plate and “R” decals for the first eight races. This let’s more experienced drivers know that you are a rookie. The faster driver may take that into account when deciding where to pass the rookie driver. A rookie, by definition, will have a provisional license. Once a rookie finishes four clean races and gets the four races signed off by the race director, they still have display the rookie decals and plate for four more races, even though they have received a hard-card license. Having a provisional license to give to the race director during the first four races, allows the race director a means to watch your on- and off-track conduct closely. Even though the race director doesn’t need to watch you more closely after four clean races, the more experienced racers on track will still appreciate knowing your experience level.

Q: What’s the difference between a rookie license and a provisional license?

A: There is no “rookie license.” Rookies will have a provisional license to give to the race director so he/she can keep a close eye on them when the rookie is on track. There can be provisional license holders that are not rookies. For example, if a driver from another sanctioning body comes to race with NASA, the Regional Director may grant a full license or a provisional license. If a driver with some experience wants to race with NASA, but the regional director isn’t sure of just how well he or she will do, the regional director can issue a provisional license and that will cause the race director to give them extra scrutiny.