Rounds 3 & 4 of the Battery Tender Global Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires took place from April 19-21, 2018 at Barber Motorsports Park. Gresham Wagner made his debut in the series with the Sick Sideways Racing team, competing among 28 other drivers in the series.
A fast-paced qualifying session on Friday morning yielded grid spots of 8th and 6th for the two respective races. Race 1 began Friday afternoon, with Wagner starting from the outside of the fourth row. He quickly found himself in the 6th position, jostling for spots early in the 45-minute race. However, a pair of early mistakes caused Wagner to fall to 10th, where he remained for the first half of the race.
Wagner eventually made it past the #77 of Luke Oxner for 9th, and remained on the tail of his Sick Sideways teammate, Selin Rollan. With 10 minutes remaining, Rollan found his way past John Dean II for 6th. Wagner completed the pass on Dean II later that lap, and moved himself into 7th place. Shortly thereafter, Wagner also slipped past Rollan, inheriting the 6th position. Wagner held onto the spot to be the highest finishing rookie, leading home the trio of Sick Sideways Racing drivers, with teammates Dean II in 7th and Rollan in 8th.
Race 2 saw Wagner start one row better, but he would lose 4 places in the first corner. Approaching the turn 5 hairpin, Wagner suffered an electrical failure, resulting in an immediate loss of power steering and an ABS error. In the following corner, while trying to nurse the car through the rest of the lap, Wagner was hit in the rear and spun around. Facing more than half the field, Wagner was hit in the right front wheel—damaging the lower control arm and causing him to retire.
Although race 2 had an early and unfortunate end, Wagner and the team still take the positives from race 1 and hope to improve on the performance in the future. Gresham will return to the series for the final round at Monticello Motor Club in September.