2017 Year in Review: Christian Brooks
FINISH: 2nd in GRC Lites points
2017 RESULTS: 12 starts, 3 wins, 9 podiums, 8 heat wins, 692 points
2016 RESULTS: 11 starts, 1 heat win, 288 points
THE GOOD: Brooks’ move to Dreyer & Reinbold Racing enabled him to not only build on the potential he showed as a rookie with AF Racing, but also become Cyril Raymond’s most consistent championship challenger. All told, Brooks held off Raymond head-to-head in Louisville, dominated the Indianapolis final with a major lead, and outfoxed his title rival with adept driving in the second Seattle final.
But beyond just his victories, it was Brooks’ ability to find the podium that enabled him to stand out from the pack. He took home nine trophies in all this year—tying not only Raymond, but also Mitchell deJong’s 2014 record, for most podiums in a single season. Streaks of four consecutive podiums to kick off and close out the season made up the bulk of Brooks’ points in 2017.
THE BAD: Of the two tracks where Brooks missed the podium, Ottawa was by far the cruelest to his championship chances. A ninth place finish on Saturday, combined with the inability to make it to the grid on Sunday with mechanical issues, meant he only took home 24 points of a maximum 100 combined between the two Canadian finals. Considering that his final deficit to Raymond was 94 points, it made a sizable dent.
Atlantic City was also a rough event for the Californian, as an eighth place finish in Saturday’s final combined with a heart-stopping rollover in heat action looked to sap the momentum from his Indianapolis victory. Instead, he took second on Sunday, second and first in Seattle, and third in Los Angeles. But with Raymond’s high standards, any spot of bad luck turned out to be a championship killer.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS: “I’m definitely happy with what we’ve accomplished this year. Last year, our results weren’t nearly as good, and even in all the heat races and basically every single practice session, I’ve just been way faster and way more consistent. So I know I improved a lot.
“We definitely got the results we were looking for, we were going for the championship but came up a little short. Still, second is a good way to end off the year, so we’re just going to keep pushing, and hopefully we can get better results in the years to come.”
2018 PROGNOSIS: Brooks has a long, promising career ahead of him. The question is if he goes for the Lites title again or pursues a step up already at age 17.
Photo credit: Louis Yio