The TM Universe is an ever-expanding network of fictional auto racing leagues operated within the forums at Ernhrtfan Racing (EFR for short). Each league consists of several fictional drivers who are in turn controlled by members of the forum. The members control their drivers' emotions, personalities, (fictional) Twitter accounts, and dialogue in interviews and the like. All drivers participate in these series as AI cars within NASCAR Racing 2003 Season, the video game that simulates these races. Users also create their drivers' paint schemes, set their ratings (to determine their skill level), and sign them up for races and/or series.Character sheet is here.
Major TM Universe leagues:
TM Master Cup Series: The highest level of racing, and the origin of the TM Universe. While the series was originally a vision of NASCAR if it had started in the Midwest instead of the South, and still is a stock car series, the TMMC's rules and procedures now draw inspiration from nearly every other form of major racing as well, such as touring cars, V8 Supercars, Formula One and the former CART series. Operated by Cynon, TMMC features the smallest entry list of any of the major TM leagues, and therefore is the hardest to enter. However, TMMC holds three races per year that allow huge numbers of "one-off" teams, that is, anyone can enter a team in these races.
TM Lights: Also operated by Cynon, TM Lights is the #2 series to TMMC (essentially the equivalent of the NASCAR Nationwide Series, sans the huge number of Cup drivers dominating the series). While Cynon runs most of the races, several people have taken on the task reviewing the races.
American Stock Car Championship: Created by Cynon to parody stereotypes of NASCAR (and Southern culture in general), most ASCC races take place on large speedways and the entry list is dominated by white male flag-wavers. Like with TM Lights, the task of producing race reviews for this series is often outsourced to other people.
Dash Cup: A European stock car series that mostly runs on road courses. Operated by Ben Atkins.
There are a number of smaller leagues that operate within the TM Universe's continuity, such as the National Racing Championship, Formula Overdrive, and the FARCE Modified Series, all with their own self-contained threads in the Minor Leagues section of EFR.
The TM Universe provides examples of:
419 Scam: Played with. A group of "businessmen" invited race teams from all around the world to compete in a race at a run-down track in Nigeria for an implausibly huge cash prize. Thankfully, the plans fell through before any teams were fleeced.
Acting for Two: Cynon and Ceej each voice two different commentator characters in their respective series.
ARLA CEO Jen Walker. She regularly sleeps on the job and skips important business to go watch the races, but the series has experienced tremendous growth under her leadership.
Marcos Leonard may be a raving madman, but he's a madman who can drive. His daring maneuvers and insanely hard driving must be seen to believe. It's also heavily implied that if you can penetrate his thick nonsense speak, he's actually a pretty intelligent guy.
A background music track that Cynon composed and included in certain 2007 race videos proved so iconic with his viewers and friends that he remade it in 2010 and put it in a TM Lights video.
For a few races in 2012, Leonid Roderick ran a paint scheme on his #4 car that echoed the one he ran in 2007-2009 - right down to the number font.
Zelda Ashby, who has regularly driven a Legend of Zelda race car in TMMC competition, drove a car with a scheme based on the original Legend of Zelda video game on the NES, as a fan-designed scheme during the 2011 Round of Daytona.
Camera Abuse: Happens whenever a car carrying an on-board camera rolls over or smashes into another object.
ARLA also used to have a gimmick in its 2011 and 2012 seasons where whenever the X/0 car driven by either Marcos Leonard or Ebenezer Quiggles, Jr. passed by the camera, it would start to glitch out.
Catch Phrase: ARLA commentator Scott Bush often says, "Driver X is passing cars like he's the star of a bad racing movie!", referring to how the stars of said badracingmovies are seen zipping past cars like they're standing still.
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Characters, particularly underdeveloped ones, can disappear by the masses in between seasons as league operators do housecleaning.
Cloud Cuckoolander: Marcos Leonard's speech, while always being grammatically correct, is nothing but non sequiturs. The media seems to understand him perfectly, though.
"'Frog, while in earnest wariness, never homebrews petabytes of setosa monkeys. Hubris such as that can unfairly replicate the mission of the plastic vineyards.' Leonard said to the press. He elaborated that he still intended to take [his team Fluffy Penguin Onionburger] to the TM Master Cup Series, even if it was an Independent's Trophy outfit."
Conspiracy Theorist: ARLA driver Zachary Zins. He even has his theories (ARLA cars release chemtrails is one) plastered all over his car.
Cross Dresser: If a Tom Delgado Racing driver finishes second to a teammate, he supposedly must wear a bridesmaid's dress until he wins a race himself. Also it has been eluded to that Chris Davenport has been sponsored by Lynxe, a women's clothing company.
Deus ex Machina: This has influenced the outcome of more than one race, usually when the race leader gets screwed over by an outside force.
Don't Forget The Lyrics: One league operator exploded when he forgot which race was next on the league's calendar while announcing it in the video. Lord knows why he didn't edit it out, and why he didn't check beforehand is beyond us.
Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: Averted by a majority of pit crews, who many people don't bother to paint. This results in the viewer looking at a bunch of ugly default pit crews automatically generated by the game.
Drives Like Crazy: Marcos Leonard. To put this in perspective, he's one of the only drivers (possibly the only) to smoke his tires going into the corners at the 2009 ARLA season opener at Daytona.
Dynamic Entry: This happens when a car blows a corner and gives a nasty surprise to an innocent bystander.
Every Episode Ending: Cynon used to do this back in the GRL, TM Cup, and early TM Master Cup Series days as he would say "Thats all for this week in the Global Racing League/TM Cup Series/TM Master Cup Series, I'll see you next time." The last time he said this was back in 2009.
However, Cynon still posts what race is next at the end of the video. (Ceej does this as well)
As of the 2012 season, one thing Cynon does before the video ends is a Demotivational Poster of one of the races biggest highlight.
Same thing can be said for some teams and manufacturers. Team SAAR USA is one of the more blatant examples of this trope.
Family Business: ARLA, founded by current CEO Jen Walker's grandfather Henry. Her brother Kurt is a car owner in the series.
Fanservice: The fictional Grand Detour Raceway, a ridiculously wide and high-banked half-mile oval with nothing more than cheap guardrails in the corners that cars can ramp off of, is featured on almost all of the leagues' schedules because of the ridiculous crashes and great racing that takes place once about 75% of the field is eliminated.
Fight Unscene: Post-race scuffles between drivers are never seen, only written about. However, this is occasionally averted when one car retaliates against another for a prior incident. Participants usually have a field day with this kind of thing.
Follow in My Footsteps: Lucas Sweeney, ARLA driver and son of former ARLA champion Paul Sweeney, has routinely claimed with annoyance that his father hardly lets him have his own identity.
Genre Launch: Cynon, with the 2006 Global Racing League season, almost certainly kicked off the formula of AI race reviews with commentary.
George Jetson Job Security: 2012 was a particularly a bad time to be in the employ of Tom Delgado Racing. Anyone on the team was liable to lose their job at some point.
Harmless Villain: "Doom-O" is a rich guy who thought he was a supervillain, and fielded a race team to gain attention. His idea of being evil was putzing around in the back of the field, so nobody saw him as a threat.
Haunted Headquarters: The 2013 TM Master Cup Series Round of Brazil was rumored to be the final race the TMMC would hold there at that track. As such, the race video was terrorized by the ghost of Scott Hamilton, a driver who died two years prior in an accident there. His ghost plagued the weekend by causing power outages, terrorizing a number of drivers over the radio by making empty threats to kill them, and even appeared on track during the race, which went unnoticed by Dan Mullen, but was present enough that he was spotted by Leonid Roderick in the closing stages of the race. The end of the video featured him interrupting Dan, telling the viewers they were being lied to, displayed a picture of the Xenos Racing #46 that Scott Hamilton was driving at the time of his death, stating that he was the real winner of the race, and then vowed to return when "[the viewers] least expect it."
Hoist by His Own Petard: Usually happens when someone or an entity attempts a stupid maneuver and gets more damage or is taken out.
The MCMA is probably a blatant example of this, the teams that were a part of it lost their guaranteed entries in the 2013 season.
Identical Stranger: Bryan George and George Bryan, the two drivers for an ARLA team known as The Dopple Gang. This team is a nightmare for the scoring tower.
Lampshade Hanging: Leslie Riggs did this once after a series known as the RROL folded:
"I love how [everyone's talking about] whatever 'replaces' the RROL as if it were that easy...Racing isn't a video game, you know."
Living with the Villain: In 2006, Ian Cooper and Steve Marshall were teammates at National Racing, but a feud grew so intense between them that the team sacked Cooper just before the final race of the year - even though he was poised to win the championship!
Mega Corp.: Karl's Superstores; an expy of Wal-Mart and major sponsor of an ARLA team.
Also, the TMMC trio of Haas Manufacturing, Kleffer Media, and The Shafer Group. Each of these have been featured on one car or another in every season of TMMC thus far, and in all but one, their numbers have added up to 73.
Motor Mouth: TM Master Cup Series commentator Dan Mullen.
Also, Cynon in real life.
The Multiverse: Several series run by other users on the site are not within the canon.
Network to the Rescue: Other users picking up a league/series that its original owner no longer runs (and in turn airing recaps on their YouTube channels).
No Budget: The Buffalo Downs track, a 1-mile dirt oval that looks like it was just dug in a prairie. The track is plagued by safety issues, including a river running parallel to the backstretch that cars can easily land in if they fly over the wall.
No One Gets Left Behind: Shortening the field or adding a twin race format and abandoning the use of qualifying races unless deemed necessary.
No Social Skills: Laura Cyrus. She will not talk to anybody at any time, despite the importance of the driver communicating with her team during races.
Towards the beginning of the Universe's history, many ARLA and TM Lights cars were those of such makes as Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge. The history of the entire canon has since been changed to reflect the fact that no real-world manufacturers have ever existed.
Word of God states that the ARLA Grand National and Sportsman Series, once established in canon, have been wiped from it.
Several ARLA drivers who were literally Naruto characters have since been renamed.
Former TMMC driver Donald McKinney was once named Donald Mendoza, according to a 2007 forum post.
Before Gasnier, a French auto manufacturer, entered the TM Master Cup, Cynon initially named it Euchade, and even addressed it as such in his video of the 2008 Daytona event. He changed his mind before the 2009 season. An unrelated manufacturer known as Eucade is still shown on the Past Champions list, albeit one that was apparently American and at its peak in the 1940s and 1950s.)
Daniel Leckliter used to go under the pseudonym Dan Clezl until 2011.
Russian Guy Suffers Most: The only two Russian manufactures in the canon, Katzev and Toylatti, have suffered from extensive reliability issues.
Skippy Rules: These have appeared in the ARLA code of conduct in years past.
Show Within a Show: The various programs mentioned by OEN before cutting back to a race broadcast, such as "Rerun Paradise."
Tabloid Melodrama: The racing-focused tabloid "Competition Info News NOW!" tends to greatly exaggerate the lives of people involved in the sport.
As an example, when another user merely hinted on Twitter as to his suspicions that ARLA drivers Kevin Monroe and Taylor Brillon had started dating, the magazine ran a story claiming that Taylor had homewrecked a previous relationship of Monroe's AND had a coat-hanger abortion of Monroe's child.
Take Up My Sword: Damien Snyder drove the late Steve Marshall's car in the 2007 Talladega Master Cup event, not two days after his passing, and nearly won it.
Tempting Fate: "And what a fantastic run driver X is having, he's really kept his nose clea-OH NO A LAPPED CAR JUST WRECKED HIM!!!"
Title-Only Opening: TMMC has had these to start its videos for the last few years. ARLA had one as well in 2010.
The Alleged Car: Derek Dudding's 2011 TTE RB 6, called "the worst car in America" by one in-universe motoring publication. The race car version was slightly better. The Racing Team's cars are also a great example of this.
Token Minority: Drivers touted as "the only (insert race/nationality here) driver in the field" or "the first (insert race/nationality here) driver ever to make a race in (insert series name here). Tyrone Stanley and Mike Andrews were examples of this in the canon's earlier years.
Too Dumb to Live: Do we need to even ask this question? Slow, crash-prone rejects like Derek Dudding, AJ Young, and almost everyone who's driven for Tutino plague the track on many occasions.
Literal example: Cody Keaton, another one of the incompetent characters, was killed when he barreled into the scene of an accident, which led to the deaths of two other drivers.
Vodka Drunkenski: Downplayed with Yevgeny Kuznetsov, who enjoys his vodka more than any sane man should, but he seems to be immune to intoxication.
What the Hell, Hero?: Characters described as reasonable drivers often make some rather...questionable maneuvers.
Women Drivers: Averted; most female drivers in the top series are very competent (with one even becoming a TM Master Cup champion).
World of Pun: One driver, Daniel Leckliter, is known to usually toss a (usually very bad) pun in tweets or interviews.