I have some insight into the history of the "day 2" rule. We used to call it the "Pioneers Rule." It was instituted the year after the Pioneers won the design competition in 1988 with our first buggy, Pinnacle. We were not fast on the course in our debut year for a plethora of reasons. But we built a very forward looking buggy that took a lot of risks, especially as a new organization, and were reward for it based on the engineering, design, build and beauty of the buggy. This buggy was full pre-preg kevlar/nomex monocoque construction, running the pneumatics that almost everyone used after we debuted them (we gave the pneumatics to Spirit that they used to set the '88 course record).
I think most organizations thought we were hacks building a bondo buggy and won design because of a "good paint job," but at the time only we and the judges allowed to look inside knew the difference.
I think that is what design should be about, rewarding organizations for innovative engineering, design, craftsmanship. That is what will push the needle in buggy (especially in the cookie cutter era we are in). Making Design Competition relevant requires selecting judges that can see this in the buggies and trusting their decisions. (And I'm not making any judgments about any past or current judges, I've had no involvement in it).