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Post by BJA95 on Tue Jan 02, 2018 7:37 pm

We are just weeks away from the 2018 season as we eclipse the new year, and lots of changes have come into place with the teams and the schedule. Drivers have swapped teams, some have come into the sport while others have gone. Based on last year, we will be going through the team chart to give our predictions on how drivers will do, then we will we going through the schedule to predict who we think will come out on top.

ATK Motorsports

#1 - Evie Vance
#2 - Ben Atkins
#10 - Daniel Leckliter
#12 - Grant Macintosh
#21 - Caitlin Conway/Bronte Anderson (ROTY)/Riko Vance -PT-

ATK Motorsports swapped out Matilda Dillinger and Casey Lester for Evie Vance and Daniel Leckliter for the 2018 season, and while Dillinger's performance may have been excellent for 2017, her attitude made sure she had no place on the team. Casey Lester also performed well, finishing ahead of team owner Atkins in the points, but he elected to move on for a new challenge.

Vance was very fast in 2017 with 5 wins, but her season was let down by unreliability woes during her single season at McBrien Racing. While ATK also had their share of mechanical gremlins, we expect these to be patched up in 2018, so we should be seeing a flurry of wins from the team.

Atkins and Macintosh will be staying on the team in 2018, and while Atkins will be looking to improve on a fairly dismal season, Macintosh will be looking to keep his pace from 2017, where he scored 5 wins. Macintosh and Atkins should be ones to watch this season.

Leckliter will be a good addition to the team. If his strategy was to play out right at Watkins Glen, he would have been an upset winner, and his pace on short tracks was extraordinary. This will be a big break for Leckliter and hopefully we see him take his first win in 2018.

Caitlin Conway's pace on the short tracks is a good indicator of the youngsters pace, but the only short track event she has been given on her part time schedule is Lucas Oil Raceway Park. While this might mean Conway may not be up there for wins, we expect she will be gaining experience on the bigger tracks before mounting a charge at a full time schedule in 2019.

Bronte Anderson instead will be racing some of the short tracks, as well as a couple of bigger tracks, such as the Oklahoma City Motorsports Complex double feature and the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It should be an excited opening season for Anderson.

µ's Racing

#3 - Hirotaka Wakamatsu (ROTY) -PT-
#54 - Maki Nishikino
#55 - Honoka Kousaka (ROTY)

Last season for µ's Racing was all about development, but they almost got a remarkable season from it. Had it not been for a freak mechanical failure on the last lap for Ben Atkins, Nico Yazawa would have been victorious at Texas World, but instead she had to settle for a P2 finish; and if it wasn't for some bad luck just before the chase, Maki Nishikino would have been one of the 16 going for the title last season.

Nishikino will be returning to her own team, predictably, after a very solid rookie season. She was just 20 points shy of making a chase appearance in her rookie year, and she will be looking to top that; and it should be clear that she will. Nishikino will be in the hunt for wins next season, and she should be able to find victory lane safely in 2018.

Honoka Kousaka was a surprise pick for µ's Racing for the 2018 season, as she was the teams simulator driver in 2017, but her pace has looked to be decent as she makes the jump straight into the International Series. If Kousaka can have a season like Nishikino did in 2017, she can consider 2018 a success.

Hirotaka Wakamatsu took the Kobalt Tools Truck Series by storm with his incredible pace right out of the gate, and his pace earned him a rightful spot on the grid part time in the International Series in 2018. Waka will be looking to continue impressing in the big league, and he could be a spoiler in some races in 2018.

There are rumours that Nico Yazawa could be sharing the #3 car with Waka, and it would be excellent to see the Number 1 Idol in the universe to make a return!

Last 2 First Racing

#5 - Jack Kelley-Whitt (ROTY)
#57 - Dustin Houston (ROTY)
#75 - William Carmichael
#77 - Spencer Libra

After a fairly dismal 2017, Last 2 First are completely restructuring their team in 2018, getting rid of Darrell Williams, who was a nuisance to the field on a weekly basis, and Daniel Dent who was equally as slow every week. While Williams at least made a big improvement towards the end of the season, it wasn't enough to keep his ride.

Jack Kelley-Whitt will be making a move from the dirt ranks straight to the International Series which... might be a mistake on the teams part. William and Laurence Carmichael have big links to dirt racing, and while Kelley-Whitt is a prodigy in a Dirt Late Model, it is a huge jump to make from dirt to a STARS LIS machine. This might not go well for the young American.

One driver finally making the big move is Dustin Houston, and he may well be the flagship driver for Last 2 First in 2018. Houston was excellent in 2017 in the Trucks, and while he may not be a race winning driver in 2018, it should be a good season for Houston.

William Carmichael started off 2017 was great pace, and many expected him to win multiple races in 2017 after race wins at Charlotte and Talladega in 2016, but the speed was not there for the majority of the season. However, Carmichael might be able to pick it up in 2018, and return to the fast pace we've been used to seeing from him in years past.

Spencer Libra will have one more crack at a full time schedule before hanging up the helmet in 2018. He did a schedule consisting of just big tracks in 2017, so while short tracks and road courses might prove a difficulty in 2017, we should be seeing Libra at the front at bigger tracks in 2018; provided he is given a car capable of doing so.

The Motorsports Team

#7 - Dalton Johnson
#70 - TBA -PT-

The Motorsports Team scored regular DNQ's in 2017, and will be looking to improve on that in 2018. Still on the quest for their first top 10, it will be a fight for the team, but hopefully they will be able to surprise.

Dalton Johnson was underwhelming in 2017, and he may well continue to be outclassed by whoever drives the teams second car as he was last season.

The 70 car will have a multitude of drivers in 2018, as it did last year. If you have cash and feel like driving a stock car for a weekend, hit up Dale Kensington Jr, because he'll fit you right in.

(OOC: Will continue this later.)

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Post by BJA95 on Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:38 pm

Team Kwik Fit

#00 - Dean Donohue
#02 - Tyler Everett (ROTY)
#20 - Casey Lester
#22 - Chiyo Minami

Team Kwik Fit have completely restructured their team with the exception of Chiyo Minami who becomes the teams veteran driver despite her being in just her second year of competition and with the team. Everett comes up from the Truck series, Lester makes the switch from ATK Motorsports and Donohue joins from RA Racing.

Dean Donohue shown massive promise in 2017, especially with his late season pace. Had things gone his way at Iowa, he could have took home a big victory, but with a more competitive car, he should be a threat this season.

Tyler Everett, the reigning Truck series champion, will be one to watch in 2018 as well, as his pace should transfer over to the International series with no time at all. We should be seeing wins out of Everett in 2018.

Casey Lester finished second more than any other driver in 2017, and he will be hungry for wins in 2018. Lester may be in a slightly less competitive car than what he was in 2018, but his drive and talent should be enough to see him finally earn success in 2018.

Chiyo Minami could either have a very good season, or a very dismal season, depending on how she handles the pressure of being the teams flagship driver. Minami was the only driver on the Team Kwik Fit team last season to take a win, as she snuck by a crash to win at Pocono. Minami fought her way to the round of eight last season, and was just 13 points shy of making the final four. Minami will be looking to improve, and if her consistency turns into more wins, then she could be a massive threat for the championship next season.

Aqours Racing

#01 - Hanamaru Kunikida
#08 - Yoshiko Tsushima Yohane, The Fallen Angel
#80 - Mari Ohara (ROTY)/Kay Douglas (ROTY) -PT-

Aqours Racing took home one of the biggest shock results in STARS history following Hanamaru Kunikida's victory at Bristol, and we should prepare to see this team shock us yet again.

Hanamaru Kunikida did not perform great in the Truck series but she put in some excellent performances, specifically the aforementioned Bristol race, where she unlapped herself before winning the race in overtime. Kunikida was also favourite to win at Talladega but her car let her down at the end after she had some mechanical issues. We should see more of the same out of Kunikida in the mirai, zura.

Yoshiko Tsushima... sorry... Yohane will be looking to improve in 2018 as she spent most of last season in the shadow of her teammate. Her performance in Trucks was not spectacular, and she was seen much higher than the midfield in the International series until she scored her 2nd place finish at Bristol. After that, she scored a 10th at Atlanta and a 6th at Talladega, and ended the season strongly. Yohane might be one of the dark horses in 2018, as she could be the one taking the shock win.

Mari Ohara is loaded. It's joke. Shiny. She might get a top 10. Maybe. Kay Douglas should be the faster of the two in the part time 80 car.

Mach 5 Motorsports

#05 - Dallas Hammond (ROTY)
#25 - Connor Swift
#69 - Tom Delgado

Mach 5 Motorsports make the leap from Trucks to the International series with a three car effort and a very experienced and talented driver lineup. Buying out the Jersey Motors, Inc operation originally owned by Marc McAllister, the team will be looking to settle into the series for 2018.

Dallas Hammond was the best performing Truck series driver that was on the Mach 5 lineup last season, and thus earned a well earned promotion with the team into the International series. It might be tough for Hammond at first, but I could see him getting some big results towards the latter half of the season.

Connor Swift had a season to forget with Kwik Fit last season, and despite the team wanting to retain Swift, he made the decision to move to the new team. While it may be a risk, the amount of investment Mach 5 are putting into this season might make it worthwhile, and we should be seeing more results out of Swift this season.

Tom Delgado has not been in a stock car for years, and it might show to begin with, but I feel like Delgado will be a strong contender for wins in 2018. Delgado was consistently fast during his previous STARS tenure, and the 1995 champion will be looking to earn another title, 23 years after his previous triumph.

McBrien Racing

#11 - Matilda Dillinger
#19 - Braxton Laughlin (ROTY)
#29 - Ruby McBrien
#91 - Dia McBrien (ROTY)/Neveah Laughlin (ROTY) -PT-
#92 - Bradley Carlisle

McBrien Racing will be full of confidence entering 2018 after Ruby McBrien's championship, and with Matilda Dillinger replacing Frank McBrien, they have every reason to be confident in their lineup... well, almost all of it, but I'll get into that more shortly.

Dillinger would have won the title in 2017 had the points system been the same as it was in seasons past; but she was not able to adapt to the new format and gave up points in the second round which saw her get eliminated. However, it is a new season, and if Dillinger learns from her mistakes, she, as always, will be a championship favourite. She has possibly the fastest car in the field and the sky is the limit for her.

Braxton Laughlin will replace Evie Vance in 2018... which is an interesting decision. McBrien Racing could have developed Vance into a future champion, but instead they've given ATK Racing that opportunity. Laughlin did make the Truck series chase after a win at Tulsa... but there are no dirt tracks on the International series calendar. It will be a tough season for Laughlin, and unfortunately I don't think he has it in him to compete in the big leagues.

Ruby McBrien will be looking to repeat her success from last season and there is no reason to believe she won't be able to. Her pace got better and better as the season went on, and she took wins in dominant fashion rather than backing into them, like she (arguably) did at Charlotte. McBrien was a worthy champion and will be a favourite to repeat in 2018.

Bradley Carlisle was also a final four competitor in 2017, and was just one spot behind McBrien when she took the title. Carlisle has always been one of the fastest drivers on the STARS scene, and we will see more of the same out of him. I expect him to make the final four yet again.

Dia McBrien has been doing late model races on a regular basis in 2017, and she will make the rather big jump to the International series in 2018; but just like her father and younger sister, she has a lot of natural pace. The team could be using this as an opportunity to get her to run full-time in 2019, and this will be a season of development for McBrien.

Neveah Laughlin was bad in Trucks and will be no better in the International series. Only reason she has this opportunity is because of money. Sorry (not sorry).

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Post by BJA95 on Tue Jan 09, 2018 2:16 am

Hadaway Racing

#14 - Lacey Starling (ROTY)
#41 - Gregory Hadaway -PT-

Hadaway Racing expand to provide Lacey Starling a shot at full time competition in the International Series in 2018. While Hadaway Racing have never been the fastest team in the International ranks, their truck program have seen both Starling and Hadaway in victory lane throughout the season.

The young driver Starling will be looking to prove herself in her debut International Series campaign, but I think she is capable. If Hadaway provides her a decent car, she should have a strong opening season. I don't think she will be winning yet, but Hadaway have a good driver dedicated to their team.

Hadaway is closing out his career doing a few races in the International Series. After his win in the Trucks at Michigan last year, the previously winless man can look back at that proud moment in his career. Let's hope he can earn more success before he calls it quits.

RoadRunner Racing

#24 - Luke Forrester
#42 - Bailey Bliss (ROTY)

RoadRunner Racing were consistently in the midfield with Patrick Vaughn last year, but with the road racing expert making his way to IMSA this year, the team expand and give the spotlight to a whole new lineup.

Luke Forrester ran for backmarkers Proline GP but provided some good results for them in 2017. With the tough competition this year, Forrester may find himself falling behind, but hopefully he will be able to match the pace of those around him.

Bailey Bliss was one of the best drivers in the Truck series last year, and her speed should transfer nicely over from the Trucks to the International Series. I can see her having the advantage at this team.

Carter Racing

#28 - Ross Carter
#82 - Joshua Sanders

Carter Racing made a miracle last year when they got Ross Carter to the final four of the championship; but sadly I don't think we will be seeing that again.

Ross Carter was fast occasionally, but it should not have been enough to see him as a championship contender at the end of the season. I don't think Carter will be near the playoffs this season. His team put everything into Las Vegas and he still only got 11th. Carter may struggle this year as I hear his team are not looking at upgrades to their cars in 2018.

Joshua Sanders was also fast, but less often than Carter. He would have the best car some times but was not capable of making it run near the front. This season may see Sanders out of a car if his funding decides to take itself elsewhere.

Silverback Motorsports

#31 - Jacob Eichholtz

Eichholtz remains the only driver at the single car operation, and while he occasionally found speed in 2017, he will need to make that a more consistent habit if he wants to be competitive; and I think he is capable of that.

Eichholtz will be looking for wins, and if he doesn't quite pull it off, he will be close. This should be a good year for this operation.

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Post by BJA95 on Sat Jan 13, 2018 2:37 am

Jenkins Performance

#34 - Mac Hanley
#44 - Elliott Jenkins

After a stellar season for Jenkins in his single car operation in 2017, the resurgence in performance has seen the team expand to two cars, keeping Jenkins in his trademark 44, and putting Hanley in the teams second car as he brings personal sponsorship from Krispy Kreme to the team.

Hanley only ran part time last year as he shown his exceptional pace. Whenever he turned up, he was a threat to the regular frontrunners, and while it is a shame to see his team disappear, Hanley is with a good organisation, and he should be competitive.

Jenkins was fast last season at the big tracks, and did almost win Bristol before the green white checkered accident, but it might be tough for the veteran to keep up with the fresh, and strong, competition.

Gabriel Macena Racing

#50 - Gabriel Macena

The Brazilian, who owns his own organisation, had a great first season with his own team, as he made the chase and almost saw the checkered flag at Pocono before the overtime laps, and this should be a breakthrough season for Macena.

As a driver, Macena has a talent, and hopefully he will be able to pick up wins. His round of 12 appearance was a shock to many, including himself, but it won't be a surprise to see him do better this year.

RA Racing

#66 - Breyton Green
#76 - Barney Ward (ROTY)

RA Racing have completely altered their line-up for 2018 and have put their faith in a mix of experience and youth. Breyton Green and Barney Ward will be replacing Dean Donohue, and the injured Riley McKee, while Marcus Montellini's ride will shut down after a lack of sponsorship, and his lack of driving talent.

Breyton Green was surprisingly let go from Big Bang Racing following his fantastic season which saw him make the round of 8. The #66 car was the strongest on the team last year, and Breyton Green could easily replicate his success from last year in this machine. Some wins could be in the mix for the veteran this year.

Barney Ward will have a tough task ahead of him replacing Riley McKee who was sadly injured in a sprint car accident at Kokomo, but Ward was good in his limited appearances with Jersey Racing last year, and I think Ward will adapt well to the car.

KYS Inc.

#86 Ike Durbin

Ike Durbin was the surprise package of last year. He would always be running in the top 10 and you wouldn't notice he got there because he ran so under the radar. With sponsorship this season, it's going to be an exciting year for Durbin.

We should be seeing wins out of this team, and I think Durbin is capable of it. Instead of opening a second team, Durbin has focused his efforts on making his current car as competitive as possible, and I think we will be seeing the #86 in victory lane this season.

Big Bang Racing

#88 - Jon Beaufort
#99 - Kevin Miller

Big Bang Racing lived up to their name in 2018, as they were explosive. Consistently fast, and they had two capable drivers in their lineup. For whatever reason, they put that down to one competitive driver; but Kevin Miller might just be the best damn driver out there.

Jon Beaufort will, for some reason, be replacing Breyton Green in the #88 car. If it says anything, ATK Racing were planning to have him run several races in the International Series in 2017, but dumped him after his Empire State 450 DNQ. Unfortunately, I think DNQ's will be the name of the game for Beaufort in 2018.

However, Kevin Miller is real threat. It was a shock that he didn't win last year, and in his final season, the fire will be lit under him even more. Miller will be taking multiple wins in 2018, I think. He should reappear in the final 4, and I expect him to be able to pose more of a threat this year.

Proline GP

#89 - Bradley Stansfield
#98 - Scott Strickland (ROTY)

The resident backmarker team of STARS for the past few years will be predictably returning in 2018, and they have a fresh lineup after a solid season last year.

Bradley Stansfield was very good in the Jersey Motors car last year, and that's exactly why Marc McAllister booted him mid season. Stansfield seems to be stuck with the cars that tend to trail the field, but should his third place finish at Pocono show anything, it's that he does have talent, and hopefully we'll see him surprise us more in 2018.

Scott Strickland will be finally making the step up to the International Series, but he may be making the move way too late, and with an noncompetitive team, it's going to be tough for the Canadian to compete. Hopefully we see Strickland do well.

Ichigaya Racing

#90 - Thanatos/9029


McAllister Motorsports

#4 - Marc McAllister

Oh god.


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Post by BJA95 on Sat Jan 13, 2018 3:03 am

To follow up, here is our predictions as to who will be in victory lane in 2018 for each race, with the exception of the duels as the fields will not be set until qualifying is in order for the 450.

EX1. Rookies Only Race @ New York Autoring - #3 Hirotaka Wakamatsu
EX2. Open Shootout @ New York Autoring - #54 Maki Nishikino
EX3. All-Star Race @ New York Autoring - #2 Ben Atkins
1. Empire State 450 @ New York Autoring - #29 Ruby McBrien
2. Adidas 200 @ Watkins Glen - #1 Evie Vance
3. Golden Corral 200 @ New Hampshire - #01 Hanamaru Kunikida
4. STARS Hall of Fame 100 @ Charlotte - #20 Casey Lester
5. Yousoro Boats 200 @ Bristol - #1 Evie Vance
6. Dabbing 100 @ Pikes Peak - #99 Kevin Miller
7. Ohara Hotels 200 @ OCMC RC - #12 Grant Macintosh
8. SKY JOURNEY 300 @ OCMC Oval - #1 Evie Vance
9. DP Enterprises 200 @ Texas World - #3 Nico Yazawa
10. Buffalo Wild Wings 200 @ Texas Motor Speedway - #10 Daniel Leckliter
11. Weeb Pizza 200 @ Saitama Ken - #2 Ben Atkins
12. Kurosawa E-Books 100 @ Twin Ring Motegi - #29 Ruby McBrien
13. Vegemite 150 @ Calder Park - #92 Bradley Carlisle
14. Wienerschnitzel 150 @ Eurospeedway - #00 Dean Donohue
15. Pizza Hut Oulton Sprint @ Oulton Park - #2 Ben Atkins
16. Twinings Road Course Challenge @ Brands Hatch - #25 Connor Swift
17. Pocono 125 @ Pocono - #11 Matilda Dillinger
18. STARS International Short Track Challenge @ Martinsville - #10 Daniel Leckliter
19. Walt Disney World 100 @ Walt Disney World Speedway - #54 Maki Nishikino
20. Florida Lottery 300 @ Daytona - #91 Dia McBrien
21. MyAmy 200 @ Homestead - #86 Ike Durbin
22. Canadian Tire 150 @ CTMP - #69 Tom Delgado
23. Allianz 150 @ Grand Detour - #69 Tom Delgado


1. #1 Evie Vance (3 wins)
2. #29 Ruby McBrien (2 wins)
3. #2 Ben Atkins (2 wins)
4. #69 Tom Delgado (2 wins)
5. #10 Daniel Leckliter (2 wins)
6. #12 Grant Macintosh (1 win)
7. #11 Matilda Dillinger (1 win)
8. #99 Kevin Miller (1 win)
9. #54 Maki Nishikino (1 win)
10. #20 Casey Lester (1 win)
11. #92 Bradley Carlisle (1 win)
12. #00 Dean Donohue (1 win)
13. #25 Connor Swift (1 win)
14. #01 Hanamaru Kunikida (1 win)
15. #86 Ike Durbin (1 win)
16. #55 Honoka Kousaka (12th in points)


24. Hotlanta 100 @ Atlanta - #1 Evie Vance
25. STARS 150 @ New Jersey - #2 Ben Atkins
26. Kobalt Tools 200 @ LORP - #54 Maki Nishikino


#01 Hanamaru Kunikida
#55 Honoka Kousaka
#00 Dean Donohue
#92 Bradley Carlisle


27. Delta Force 200 @ Indianapolis - #29 Ruby McBrien
28. Monster Energy 300 @ Talladega - #05 Dallas Hammond
29. FlexBox 150 @ Lime Rock - #99 Kevin Miller


#69 Tom Delgado
#86 Ike Durbin
#20 Casey Lester
#25 Connor Swift


30. Overwatch 200 @ Iowa - #29 Ruby McBrien
31. Domino's Pizza 200 @ Auto Club - #08 Yoshiko Tsushima
32. Kobalt Tools 100 @ Sonoma - #99 Kevin Miller


#2 Ben Atkins
#11 Matilda Dillinger
#10 Daniel Leckliter
#1 Evie Vance


#29 Ruby McBrien
#99 Kevin Miller
#54 Maki Nishikino
#12 Grant Macintosh

33. STARS Championship 200 @ Las Vegas - #12 Grant Macintosh

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