By qualifying for the Chase for the Crown Cup, Vldišav Šnajdrov's contract was automatically extended one year through the 319AP season, locking him in to the No. 5 car for the 318AP season. It remains to be seen if VexTel will remain as the primary sponsor on that car for another season, or if another sponsor may slide in. Pad Kinthurris' contract carried him through the 317AP season only, and it's unclear if the team will invite him to return for another season, though the likelihood increases if he continues to bring sponsorship with him. The team has confirmed that they will continue to run Veron cars in 318AP.
No changes are expected to the driver lineup at Black Star Racing Syndicate for the upcoming 318AP season as both drivers are locked in contracts through at least the coming season. Team officials are said to be close to offering Piet-Maria Caniz a two-year contract extension in the No. 97 car based on his performance the past two years, and it is unclear if the current sponsor lineup will continue into the future. There have also been rumors swirling that the team has been approached by Whilandic automaker Gazelle about switching away from the team’s traditional Parmiyon cars and joining with fellow Whilandic team Manaar Motorsports. No word yet from team officials on those rumors.
The little Draconian team that just hasn’t been able to get themselves together over the past two years. The team entered 317AP with high hopes after signing fellow countryman Johan Weinhauss and adding an associate sponsor in It’s Never Too Latte, but they were plagued throughout the season by problems in the garage and on the track. Weinhauss only managed to qualify for 18 of 70 possible events, notching a single Top-10 finish for his efforts, and finishing 101st of 110 drivers in the points standings. There would be no surprises if the team released Weinhauss and if he were to disappear into the night after the kind of season he just finished. Luckily for the team, he was only signed to a one-year contract anyway. It still remains to be seen if the team will continue to operate, who will drive, who will sponsor, and what make of car they will field in 318AP.
Both teams did quite well for Burgium Racing Syndicate in 317AP, with one making the Chase for the Crown Cup and one just barely missing the cut for it. Harvey Dundeinburg is already signed through 318AP, but it would not be surprising to see a major contract extension offered if he's able to repeat the success of the past two seasons. Rookie Eric Cavagne did a more-than-respectable job as Dundeinburg's teammate in the No. 67 car, contending for the top rookie spot most of the year and missing out on the Chase by virtue of not having won a race, still finishing 42nd overall in the points standings. Cavagne's contract was only for 317AP, though, so he's technically a free agent, and BRS may have to open their wallets a little wider to convince this kid to stay instead of going for one of the many offers sure to come his way in the off-season.
It was another terrible year for Caffeine Addicts of the Speedways, with both drivers finishing in the bottom five of the 110 drivers in the Crown Cup standings. It would surprise no one to see both drivers released by the team, and possibly the end of their racing careers. The bigger question is whether or not the team will continue to participate in the RZOEAZ in 318AP, or if it might be sold to a newcomer, bringing new blood into the motor racing series.
It was a decent season for Calé Racing, with rookie Keithro Trevizant taking the helm of the team and racing to a solid middle-of-the-road finish. While it is certain that the team will continue into 318AP and with automaker Zerus for the second year, Trevizant's contract officially ended in 317AP, calling into question whether or not he will return to the No. 20 in 318AP.
It was another banner year for Westrian powerhouse Carl Sithz Racing, winning the Scepter Cup owners championship for the fifth straight season and having all three of their drivers finish in the Top 20 in the Crown Cup driver standings. The only potential downside to the season was that Franz-Joseph Delolazabal failed to score a win for the first time in his RZOEAZ career. No changes are expected to the lineup at CSR, unless RZOEAZ officials carry through with the rumored mandate to limit owners to just two teams. If that were to come to fruition, CSR officials would be faced with the nearly impossible task of deciding which of their three stellar drivers to release into the general population.
It was another typical season for Cinq-Mars Racing, with one driver clearly a cut above the other. Once again, Kukuria's Rudyard Gandalf made the Chase for the Crown Cup, finishing 8th and clearly justifying the team's likely desire to offer what should be a very lucrative contract extension. Eastern Zartania's Astyn Belcher, though, performed much as the team's other drivers have in the past, managing only two Top-5 finishes and ending up 78th in points. The question now is whether or not the team plans to honor the second year of Belcher's contract or terminate it early (along with the hefty fine that would be incurred for breach of contract) and search for a new driver for the No. 58.
Both drivers had seasons that would be considered less than stellar by Corley Racing standards. Youngster Louiz Caloni made the Chase for the Crown Cup again, but fell short again, finishing 33rd overall in points with only three Top-5 finishes and no wins on the season. Veteran Mohammed Gomez, however, experienced the worst season of his lengthy career, qualifying for only 16 of the 70 possible events and finishing 100th in points. Both drivers saw their contracts expire at the end of 317AP. The question now is whether or not the team will choose to extend those contracts or search for new blood for 318AP and beyond.
It was, overall, a mediocre year for Driisbahk Motor Sports. Kalisth'izira's Joaqim Kendezal once again made the Chase for the Crown Cup, thus earning himself an automatic one-year extension on his contract and keeping him in the No. 51 car through at least 318AP. Eastern Zartanian veteran and the first-ever RZOEAZ Rookie of the Year, Darrell Allen, had his worst season of his venerable career, qualifying for only 16 events and finishing 106th in points despite picking up a win in the AgriCove 300 in April. With his contract expired at the end of the 317AP season, most pundits believe that Driisbahk Motor Sports management will likely release the 46-year-old Zartanian in preference for some younger blood to team with Kendezal into the future. It remains to be seen if sponsors Exqot Motor Oil and Rain or Shine outdoor apparel will stick with the team, follow Allen, or chart their own path into 318AP.
David Cromwell's season would be considered mediocre at best. The Utanian veteran finished 80th overall in points with only a single Top-5 finish to show for his troubles. However, he does have a year still to go on his contract with the team. The RZOEAZ rumor mill currently has Falcon Ridge Motorsports as a leading candidate to fold or sell-out should a new owner or ownership group be interesting in forging their way into the sport in 318AP. If that were to happen, it remains to be seen if said new team would simply buy out FRM's belongings, including Cromwell, or attempt to start fresh. For now, Cromwell remains penciled into the 318AP lineup in the No. 59 car.
"For Poppy" Racing had a rough sophomore season in the RZOEAZ. Neither driver really lived up to the team's expectations, which means it may be a good thing that each had only been signed to a single-year deal. Davenporter veteran Charles Kain-Joffrey took over the No. 4 car after a year without racing in 316AP, and proved again why he may just hang up the helmet for good if he can't find a ride for 318AP, finishing 71st of 110 drivers with two Top-5 finishes. His teammate, Eastern Zartanian veteran Wesley Morann did slightly better, finishing 51st in the points standings and grabbing an extra Top-5 finish beyond Kain-Joffrey. However, the 48-year-old Morann's steadily advancing age in the face of new, young talent may mark the end of his tenure with FPR and perhaps the end of his career. On the other hand, if the team is looking to build on 317AP's performances, they may be inclined to keep the veteran to pair with a rookie or sophomore driver at least for the upcoming season. Both sponsors have yet to announce their plans for 318AP, as well.
It was yet another rebuilding year for Gem-Mountain Racing, with on solid, middle-of-the-road driver and one driver solidly in the basement. Draconia's Ned Drake took the helm of the No. 84 car for the first time, and utterly failed to impress. Qualifying for only 19 events and grabbing only a single Top-5 finish, Drake finished 88th of 110 drivers, and is likely out of a job for 318AP. His Westrian teammate, Jeroen Yeolant, however, was a solid mid-performer, making only one event more than Drake, but making more of the races he did enter, coming home with four Top-5 finishes and wrapping up the season 52nd overall. Given GMR's history, most RZOEAZ-watchers feel the team is likely to offer Yeolant a one-year extension to remain in the No. 90 and attempt to improve his performance in 318AP while seeking a new teammate to pair with him in the No. 84. Both Carnation Road and WOLFF Motion Pictures have expressed their desires to sponsor "winning teams, teams that run up front week-in and week-out," and are expected to leave the team prior to 318AP.
There will be no change to the driver lineup at this team, as the team exists solely for HRH Prince Karl vun Q'Leist, the younger brother of Zartania's HRM King Bruno II, to race in the RZOEAZ. HRH will continue to drive the No. 75 car as long as HRM continues to fund the team. The only potential rumored change is that of the sponsor, with Veron possibly leaving the sponsorship role to focus on providing more technical and engineering support to their RZOEAZ and ICARA race teams, and leaving the hood of the No. 75 car vacant for the time being. It is unclear what sponsor may grace the hood and quarterpanels of the only "royal" car in the field, though some rumors have pointed to the possibility of a rotating sponsorship highlighting top companies from each of the Greater Zartanian Empire's Federated Dominions: Eastern Zartania, Western Zartania, Whiland, and Elafites & Zufites.
With yet another run in the Chase for the Crown Cup, Utanian veteran Gordan Marapae has again justified his team's decision to opt for a multi-year contract. Marapae's current contract carries him through the end of the 318AP season with James Donovan Motorsports, keeping him behind the wheel of the No. 47 car for another season. Primary sponsor Eclipse Homegoods took some convincing to return for the 317AP season, and it's currently unclear if they'll return for 318AP or force the team to search for a new sponsor on the iconic gold and green Kunghai.
Rumors abound that the team could fold prior to the 318AP season, especially if there is interest from another potential owner or ownership group trying to enter the sport. Eastern Zartanian conglomerate Keltzin purchased a controlling share of Harrysun Motorsports four years ago in an attempt to increase their brand recognition through RZOEAZ team ownership and sponsorship. For the past 3+ seasons, Keltzin has been single-handedly bankrolling the team and sponsoring the cars, resulting in a veritable tidal wave of cash leaving the company each year for an intangible return-on-investment. In the meantime, teammates and spouses Nadjia Kiji and Amanda Takanagiwa have continued to fall short of the team's hopes, with Kiji experiencing a significant backslide after setting the record for single-season wins by a driver in 315AP, finishing 41st in points in 317AP and just missing the cut for the Chase for the Crown Cup. Meanwhile, Takanagiwa picked up her first victory in a few years, but woefully underperformed the rest of the season, resulting in a 96th-place points finish out of 110 drivers. Should the team continue into 318AP, expect Kiji to be offered a contract extension and Takanagiwa to be offered a refreshing farewell beverage.
The 317AP season turned out to be the breakout season for Albion-Merité's Boltzer automaker and Pattie-Badenburg Racing Group. Rookie Calvin Trellis not only made the Chase for the Crown Cup, but finished 13th in points with Boltzer's first race win in the RZOEAZ. Trellis is still tied to the No. 80 car for the second year of his two-year contract, but what comes of him in 319AP is anyone's guess at this point.
It looks like 318AP will be another "rebuilding year" for Walther Ingerven, with Eastern Zartanian veteran Troy Cundriff retiring from racing at the end of the 317AP season. After throwing a punch at another driver at the start of the season and finding himself suspended, Cundriff had the kind of final season you would expect him to have: six Top-10 finishes in 17 races, wrapping up the season 88th of 110 in points. During his suspension, the team tapped rookie Pierce Huitt to keep the No. 65 car on the track. With only four starts during that period, Huitt still managed to record his first Top-10 finish in his fledgling RZOEAZ career, with the hopes that it might land him a permanent ride for 318AP. The No. 65 car, however, will not be his; that honor has officially been offered to Eastern ZartanianICARA driver Aliprand Valdogle. Meanwhile, Westrian teammate Carlton Uranburg continues to improve, recording five Top-5s and finishing 49th in points, likely earning himself a contract extension or a competitive offer from another team.
Despite picking up a new driver in Westrian veteran Ely Veldenbrought, a new sponsor in Franthz Foods, and a new car manufacturer in Cinq-Mars, WDC Racing was unable to capitalize and suffered yet another poor season. Veldenbrought managed only six Top-10 finishes in 22 races, and ended the season 85th in points. He still has one year left on his contract, but it's unclear if the WDC Racing team officials will honor that final year or cut their losses now and look for a new driver to improve their fortunes in 318AP.
Not much was expected of Xenhua Motors Racing in their rookie season in the RZOEAZ, so the bar was set fairly low for them. With one up-and-coming star and one aging veteran, the team managed a middle-of-the-road performance, notching their first win and netting 12 Top-10 finishes between them. UTFN driver Thackery Hastings is already signed through the upcoming 318AP season, so no changes are expected in the No. 60 car. However, the future is less clear for veteran Yanni Kitschenrotsch and the No. 61 car.
The 317AP season was a mixed bag for Yaman-Kotzebue Racing: their rookie driver won a race and spent most of the season challenging for the lead in the Rookie of the Year standings, but late-season mistakes and mishaps meant that he didn't make the cut for the Chase for the Crown Cup, and ended the season 67th of 110 drivers in points. nIisi's contract was only for his rookie season, leaving many to wonder if the team will cut their losses and look for a more experienced driver in 318AP, and try to invest the time and effort needed to try to make nIisi the team's future.