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And now, GASCAR.
Truck Series Sees New Faces, Old Champion
Several new faces entered into the GASCAR Truck Series; Vik Dorn, Cal Amanar, Arthur Saft, and Aayden Bauman all made their first Truck Series starts. Usually, if these were any old rookies coming up from the local short track scene, we wouldn't mention them, but each of them are going to be forces to be reckoned with once they get their sea legs under them; but why?
Vik Dorn from Azaltan comes from a racing family; the Dorns own a race team down in Azaltan and Vik's father used every penny the family earned to help his son's racing career, and as such Vik got seat time in everything from sprint cars, to sports cars, to yes, even stock cars. So, the #24 Truck Series team signed Vik Dorn to run their truck for three years.
Cal Amanar is the son of GASCAR champion and current cup driver, Stefan Amanar. Cal got his start racing karts and later sports cars, where he made a name for himself with his aggressive driving and no nonsense attitude, and so the #99 team signed him to race for them for two years.
Arthur Saft will race for the #88 after the former driver, Ron Hatcherson, saw Saft's talent during a local stock car race. What makes Saft unique, however, is the fact he's only 17, but has speed and talent needed to compete in the big leagues.
Finally, there's Aayden Bauman. Bauman raced the #21 car on the local short track scene where the team won a combined 167 races. Bauman never really wanted to advance and wanted to keep racing for the #21 team, but the team's owner convince Bauman that he could compete in GASCAR, and that he was "wasting his talent" crushing the competition at short tracks. So, the #84 hired Bauman to drive their truck after the former driver retired.
With these new faces and so many other drivers being sophmore or junior drivers, the Truck Series veterans are gradually faded out. One that hasn't faded out was Leopold Vogel, who won his second championship this year in dominating fashion.
New Races Considered A Great Success
GASCAR had three new races this season; the Norefelk Bars 200 at Mid-Austilla, Oliandiria, the Chewies 400 at Salta, Alaback, and the Clayyard 400 presented by Kordlun Hardware at Libertas, Calcaterra. GASCAR considered all three races a huge success, and the track promoters agreed, so let's talk about each in more detail.
The Norefelk Bars 200 was won by the prince himself, Stephen Hoffenheim; it was also Hoffenheim's first cup series win. The race had 13 lead changes, with 22.2 passes per green flag lap, and the seats were sold out. On Alabackian TV, ratings were 7.6 of 10, with viewership at 13.567 million. Averaging ticket sales, TV ratings, viewership, and fan opinion polls, GASCAR ranked this race at 8.2 of 10.
The Chewies 400 was won by Sozkana's own Vasili Alesnaro. The race had 28 lead changes, with 11.6 passes per green flag lap, and the seats were sold out as well. On Alabackain TV, ratings were 7.7 of 10, with viewership at 14.886 million. Averaging ticket sales, TV ratings, viewership, and fan opinion polls, GASCAR ranked this race at 8.6 of 10.
Finally, the one that GASCAR was betting a lot on, was the Clayyard 400 presented by Kordlun Hardware, won by Alaback's Nadia Trauth. The race had 26 lead changes, with 14.3 passes per green flag lap. While the race did not sell out ticket wise, Libertas has a capacity of about 400,000 seats, and the race sold 375,000 seats. On Alabackain TV, ratings were 8.4 of 10, with viewership at 16.521 million. Averaging ticket sales, TV ratings, viewership, and fan opinion polls, GASCAR ranked this race at 9.1 of 10.
Overall, GASCAR exects were pleased with the results, but haven't yet signed an extension with the tracks yet. GASCAR wants to get a larger sample size from the races, so GASCAR will let the 3 year contract run out then decide whether or not to sign an extension.
Kistler's Engine Program Takes A Tumble
Kistler was completely dominant in the 2076 season, and a lot of that is due to their partnership with Deen-Lanm Engines, an engine company that makes sports car engines. Deen-Lanm Engines, however, ended their partnership with Kistler's GASCAR program after they were offered a lucrative contract with a top sports car team. So, Kistler's engine program had to pick up the slack, and they were not equipped to deal with that giant task.
The engines were reliable, but not really fast; the program lacked the magic touch that Kistler needed to propel their cars to victory. Stefan Amanar scored Kistler's lone win at Kistler's (and his) home track and race, the Dakono 350 at Dakono, Zambet Fata. Time remains to be seen if Kistler will either find another company to supply race engines, or will try and bolster its own.
After a horrible 2076 campaign, Angor-Morton Motorsports was at its lowest point in years. But as they say, when you're at your lowest, the only way left is up. What was interesting, however, is that Angor-Morton's charge into success wasn't led by its traditional frontman Karl Weller, but by relative newcomers to not just Angor-Morton, but to the cup series.
The charge's leader was Stephen Hoffenheim, nicknamed the Prince because, well, he's the Prince of Anthacia. He scored his first win at the Norefelk Bars 200, breaking the 42 winless drought Angor-Morton was in. He would also go onto win the Glenigrad 355 in Lapod late in the season. Those two wins would be the team's only ones of the season, but Hoffenheim came darn close to winning in some other races, and he dominated the Durenbaunt Banking Roval 400 before being passed by Baldur Huwyler on the last lap. Clearly, Stephen Hoffenheim is a force to be reckoned with on road courses.
In contrast to Hoeffenheim's knack for road courses, Oliandiria's Adam "Arriver" Tjurgard has speed on the superspeedways of Baytona and Gallediga. Tjurgard nearly scored his second Baytona 500 win, but we'll talk about what happened later. He put up a 3rd place finish at Gallediga, then a 10th place finish at the Firecracker 400. Although the Arriver struggles at short tracks and isn't very good at road courses, his skill at "flat out" tracks makes him a force to be reckoned with.
Finally, Conmerica's Morem Sosco, AKA "Ghost", was all set to claim his first trophy several times, but came up short five different times throughout the season. He finished second at the Termatt Inc 500, then again at the Boxem Outdoors 400. He looked set to win in North Nebraska, but a hard-charging Vasili Alesnaro passed him with two to go. He then finished second, again, at Chewies 400 and then again at the Northern 500. Despite his apparent knack for finishing in second, Sosco struggles at short tracks and is just outright bad at some tracks. Still, with improvement, Sosco could very easily rub shoulders with Hoffenheim.
Overall, the team looks set for greatness, but the veteran Weller seems to be missing. The last time Weller won a race was back in 2074 at the Firecracker 400, meaning he's gone winless for about two years now. That doesn't mean Weller's career is dead in the water and he'll never see victory lane again, every driver goes through a drought in their career. Heck, Alex Bach, the best thing since sliced bread, even had his own three-year winless streak. Weller will just have to use his teammate's momentum to dig himself out of the drought.
Davy Clerisseau: A Hot Commodity?
When Davy Clerisseau made the jump from trucks to cup cars he did so without any backing from any team. So, he, with his girlfriend, some buddies, and volunteers, started his own cup team, and competed in 2076. The team, without any major sponsors, support, or backing, was able to qualify and compete in races, but wins were never a serious consideration; his best finish was 14th.
This year was different. He landed a major sponsor, Garrois Lines, and several associate sponsors. He was able to use that sponsor money to upgrade his team's shop and his equipment. The car, however, needed work; he drove a Cehve, but did so not only without support from Cehve, but did so without the backing of any Cehve teams. Clerisseau was going to run a Cehve again, but Katimos came to him with a deal he couldn't refuse. In exchange for running Katimos cars and promoting the Katimos brand in his home nation of Malarsia, Katimos would tell Trustmanster Racing to give discounts on their equipment to Clerisseau.
Grace Trustmanster, a racer turned teamowner of Trustmanster Racing, gave Clerisseau his discounts on top-tier equipment not only because Katimos asked her too, but because she believed that Clerisseau was a good racer and could perform if his equipment matched his talent, and by allying him to Katimos and Trustmanster Racing, she could offer to give Clerisseau a ride on her team then use his team as a development team.
Whatever the intentions, the deal paid big time for Clerisseau. He won the Baytona 500 after Caroline Eisner (another Katimos driver) pushed him to the lead as the then leaders Adam Tjurgard and Gagarin Vityanilo wrecked each other. And after winning on the biggest stage of them all, Clerisseau went on the claim the Kastal night race win; the first two wins of his career, and both are crown jewels.
He had a handful of top fives and top 10s, but he was overall a mid-pack car. But coming from a back-of-packer struggling with money to a mid-pack car with two crown jewel wins and an alliance with a championship-winning team and a major sponsorship is improvement. Clerisseau is the man to watch next year.
New Leader, New Results: Katimos's Racing Program
Katimos is an Alabackian car brand that promotes itself as the "car brand of the night" and is mostly popular with young adults and teenagers as powerful, yet affordable, small joyriding cars to cruise and see the city lights at night.
Formed when the car manufacturers Kato and Imus merged, the company has been a stable of Alabackian night life ever since. And the brand follows in the traditional of Kato and Imus, and competes in stock car racing. But what seperates Katimos from the other car manufacterurs in GASCAR is the fact they have two championship winning teams under their banner; Trustmanster Racing and Ahle Racing; whereas most teams only have one.
But here's the thing; despite fielding more championship-contenting cars then any other auto manufacteror, Katimos struggles to claim championships. Most of that is due to the company, and by extension teams that run their cars, just being swamped by other manufacturers. The massive conglomerates of Cehve, Kistler, Huick, and Ettlinger can throw money around and win through the sheer crushing weight of their corperate might, but Katimos has, and always will, applead to a specific demographic, and so they don't make nearly as much money as the other auto manufactuers they're up against.
But through sheer spite and tenacity, Katimos can compete, and has a loyal following. But spirit and loyality only go so far in the racing world if you don't have equipment to match, and Katimos's higher ups didn't really feel the need to pour much money into GASCAR. You see, after their dominance in the late 2060s and early 2070s with Kasper Kenshin at the head of their racing division, a new CEO stepped up and fired Kenshin, because he felt just having Katimos cars on the track was good enough for advertising the car brand.
But that CEO was tossed out in a corperate coup and was replaced by Shima Kato, the great great grandchild of Kato's founder, Soichiro Kato. Shima wants Katimos to expand its horizons and sell cars to the nightlife all around the world, and part of that plan is victory in GASCAR. So, Shima appointed his son, Kuda Kato, to head Katimos's racing plans.
Kuda sat down with Trustmanster Racing and Ahle Racing, and the two agreed to a technical alliance for time being. Kuda also got Davy Clerisseau to run Katimos cars, and he also introduced a brand spanking new engine. That engine, technical alliance, and new leadership propelled Katimos cars to win 11 of 21 races. That means Katimos cars won about 50 percent of races that season.
But they didn't win the championship. Caroline Eisner and Baldur Huwyler tied each other for most wins in 2077, but each had their own flaws that prevented them from getting the cup. Huwyler is still trying to adjust to racing for Trustmanster Racing, and Eisner was involved in numerous wrecks and just didn't have the speed the champion did in the last races.
Still, Huwyler and Eisner came close to winning the cup, with Eisner just 26 points away, and Huwyler just 29 points away.
But such dominance means that Katimos, Trustmanster Racing and Ahle Racing, will be forces to be reckoned with next season.
The Race For The Cup
With Katimos winning left and right, Trauth and Angor-Morton making moves, and Clerisseau starting to race up front, it may surprise you to find out that Huick of all companies won the championship.
The usual Huick trio of Vasili Alesnaro, Gagarin Vityanilo, and Dernov Larion ran up front, and many were starting to etch Alesnaro's name onto the cup as he stormed off with the points lead. But a horrible late summer stretch knocked him down to third. and Larion replaced him for first. What was strange, though, is that Larion didn't win a race. And went winless as the season continued, but he kept stretching his points lead. But how?
GASCAR awards points based on finishing positions for each race. Winning the race gets you five bonus points, so the way it works is 1st gets 40 points, 2nd gets 35, 3rd gets 34, etc etc. This keep going until we get to 36th; 36th through 40th get 1 point each, which means finishing in those positions can absolutely kill a driver's points standings.
And finishing 36th through 40th is exactly what happens when your car crashes, engine expires, or you get some other mechanical failure. And that's exactly what happened to Vasili Alesnaro, Caroline Eisner, and Baldur Huwyler. But Larion never finished below 20th in any race, and was almost always in the top five. Sure, he only won once, but it's not who wins the most that gets the championship, it's who scores the most points, and Larion scored the most points.
He actually almost went winless and became the first winless champion in GASCAR history, but he was able to score his first win of the season at the last race in Azaltan after he passed Davy Clerisseau on the last lap to score the win.
And so, Dernov Larion scores his second championship, and in the process scores Huick their fourth championship in the GASCAR cup series.
GASCAR To Add An All-Star Race
Racing is a sport, all GASCAR fans know that, but it is a unique sport; it is an odd combination of a team and individual sport, but none the less it is a sport. But one thing most major sporting leagues have that GASCAR doesn't is an All-Star game, an exhibition game to showcase the best players (the "stars") of a sports league.
While All-Star races aren't unique or anything new (the Alabackian KART League has one), GASCAR doesn't- or rather didn't- have one for several reasons. One reason is that GASCAR didn't feel the need to add one; there was more than enough racing to go around, and crown jewel events filled that "special event" niche. There would also be the inveitable dispute and bidding war over where the race would be held. And then there was the question of who would qualify for the All-Star race.
Well, wonder no more, because GASCAR announced it would be adding an All-Star Race. But where would it be held? Who qualifies for the All-Star Race? What does the winner get?
GASCAR, after testing with Grace Trustmanster at the Valirrian Alps Circuit, was impressed not just with the course, but with the surrounding area. A scenic mountain resort where the luxury is only matched by the altitude. While a road course (literally, it uses public roads closed for a race), it has elements of an oval track with including banked turns and long straights. AKA, the perfect match for an All-Star race.
But who qualifies for the All-Star Race? The answer is all past GASCAR champions, race winners from the previous season and the beginning of the current season, and past All-Star race winners. The only other way to qualify for the All-Star Race is to win the fan vote, or to win a qualifying race held at the track for drivers inelligiable.
Finally, the winner not only gets a shiny trophy of their car's number, but will also get $1 million and an all-paid expense weekend trip to the skiing resort next to the race venue. No word from GASCAR on how many laps the race will be, or who (if any) will sponsor the race as of now.
GASCAR & Grace Trustmanster Complete Testing On Potential Tracks
With GASCAR looking to add new tracks, GASCAR sent Grace Trustmanster and Trustmanster Racing's lead mechanic (who is also Grace's husband) along with a small army of mechanics and officials to will test a cup car around the following tracks, in this order:
1. Champala Beach Course in Alaback
2. Crowley Motor Speedway in Anthacia
3. Autodromo Nazionale di Ananzo in Kolonica
4. Valirrian Alps Circuit in Valirria
5. Jekosov Road Course in Zambet Fata
6. Las Vanraska Speedway in Zambet Fata
As you've read in the previous section, the Valirrian Alps Circuit test was a huge success, with Grace praising the circuit for being a badfast road course where you rarely have to let off of the throttle, yet the course's twisting turns made the car a handfull to drive. "It was the right balance of mashing the gas and handling the wheel" Grace said.
Grace said similar things about the Jekosov Road Course, praising it for being fast and fun to wheel a car around, but did complain about the narrowness of some sections and said the last few turns just simply didn't work with a cup car. Overall, GASCAR has high hopes for the track, but will conduct more testing sessions in the future and make adjustments to the track for cup racing.
Las Vanraska Speedway, also in Zambet Fata, was also subject to a testing session. Here Grace loved the state of the art facilities at the track, and thought certain sections of the track were a wonder to drive. But overall she said the track is definitely built for lightweight sports cars and not big heavy stock cars. So, GASCAR will also conduct further testing sessions here and will make adjustments where needed.
The other two road courses Grace tested at, Champala Beach Course and Autodromo Nazionale di Ananzo, Grace had less than stellar things to say. She said Ananzo was an alright track, but said the track overall was too narrow for her liking, and she also wasn't a fan of some of the corners on the track. But she did say the track and the surrounding vineyard landscape was beautiful. GASCAR decided to put off testing at the course in favor of testing at the other courses, but did say that future tests at Ananzo aren't out of the question.
But she really did not like the Champala Beach Course, saying the course had too many turns, was too narrow, and also said the track just didn't permit itself to speed. And the data backs her up; her average speed over the entire testing session was around 75 mph, which is a snail pace for a race car. So, GASCAR scrapped any future plans regarding the Champala Beach Course.
Finally, she tested at the Crowley Motor Speedway. She quite liked Crowley, saying it reminded her of the Milenadra Mile in Alaback, one of her best tracks when the NCR raced there. Overall she didn't have much to complain about in Crowley, and she thought it would make a great addition to the schedule. GASCAR will run additionally tests at Crowley next year to determine whether or not Crowley will get a cup date.