US adventure 2020: Gil Linster with solid debut at the New Smyrna Speedway
Gil Linster impressed at the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing in New Smyrna – With TGS Competition he competed in the Pro Late Model Series
For every stockcar racer the dream is to compete with the best drivers in the United States. During the Speedweeks, the NASCAR pros really put their foot down at the Daytona International Speedway, but at the same time a very important event took place at the short track of New Smyrna: the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
In February 2020, Gil Linster from Luxembourg and his team TGS Competition took up the challenge in the Pro Late Model Series. Before that Linster had gained a lot of experience on ovals and in stock cars in the V8 Oval Series (V8OS) at Raceway Venray and in the NASCAR Whelen Euro Series, but what he experienced in New Smyrna topped everything.
The focus, however, is first of all on the track not far from Daytona: the oval in Florida has a length of half a mile (about 880 metres) and a banking of up to 20 degrees. The track was opened in 1967 and since then it has been one of the main venues for local stock car classes, whose races are often referred to as “grass root racing”.
Linster competed in the Pro Late Model Series. The chassis, bodies and also engines are similar to those of the Dutch V8 Oval Series, but there are still serious differences to its European little brother. ‘Leadlap.de’ was on site in New Smyrna and talked to the Luxembourger about his start in the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing.
“The track and also the car are very different from the V8 Oval Series”, explained Linster. “We are allowed to drive any line we want here, and we can also drive into any gap if we want to (in the V8OS there are strict rules on line selection; editor’s note). This is of course a huge difference.”
Also the car behaves quite different from the Late Models in the Netherlands. Linster said: “It is much more aggressive and much more special than in Venray. The gas and brake pedals are much more precise. But the biggest challenge were the competitors. Here you can try every trick you’ve learned in your career to make them nervous, it’s senseless. They’re simply full professionals here. It’s more like they say: ‘You want to drive like this? Let’s do it like this!'”
Although Linster had to overcome many challenges on his debut, the Luxembourger managed to keep up in the midfield. In three races he finished in 14th, eleventh and twelfth place. In the last race, which ‘Leadlap.de’ witnessed for itself on site, he put up a strong fight for eleventh place and was not lapped in the end.
“We had some problems in the first race because we chose the wrong gear ratio,” the TGS driver summed up. “I quickly got into the limiter, which ruined my first race. We adjusted that and we also used a few setup tricks. The second race was very good and perfect to learn something. Because it was hotter, we had to change the setup again. It was also my first time here, so it took time for everything to fit together.”
In the third race Linster put up a thrilling fight over the entire distance of 35 laps: “That was my first really hot race. I managed to keep up with the field. That was important for learning and developing myself as a racer.”
While Linster completed important miles on his US adventure, Jamie Skinner, son of NASCAR Truck Series legend Mike Skinner, won the World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing at New Smyrna Speedway in the Pro Late Model class. There were also Super Late Model, Modifieds and other local oval racing classes that raced on the famous short track.