2021 began in promising fashion for Gresham Wagner and the Spark Performance team at the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup events at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The pairing opened up the first practice session of the season with the fastest lap before securing a double pole position for the pair of 45-minute races around the Daytona Road Course.
Race 1 began with a mechanical glitch for Wagner, who was forced to shut the car and electronics off in the tri-oval early in the race. After coasting through the beginning of the lap, Wagner refired the car and successfully troubleshooted the issue. However, he found himself in the midfield and outside of the top ten, with a 5+ second gap to the lead pack. Wagner quickly fought back to 5th place in the next 10 minutes, repeatedly setting the fastest lap of the race. The race was largely stagnant at the front until a full course yellow and restart ensued late in the race. With 2 laps remaining, Wagner restarted the race in 6th place. Taking the white flag in 4th place, Wagner made a decisive move around the outside of turn 1 to move into 3rd. Wagner positioned himself strongly for the rest of the lap, making a move for the lead coming the finish line. Wagner moved to the outside of the leaders and made it 3-wide before he found a helping push from the #28 of Sam Paley. The two shot ahead of the leaders and crossed the line 1st and 2nd, with Wagner taking the win by a tenth of a second.
Race 2 again started with Wagner on pole. Without the same mechanical issues faced in race 1, Wagner led the entirety of the race until a major crash in the middle of field caused a full course yellow. Seconds before the field was neutralized, the 2nd and 3rd place cars of Michael Carter and Jared Thomas drafted past Wagner on the high banks of Daytona, relegating Gresham to 3rd. The field remained frozen and the race finished under caution as the crash cleanup continued.
The 1st and 3rd place finishes, coupled with bonus points from 2 pole positions, fast lap in race 1, and the most laps lead in race 2, see Wagner leave Daytona with the series points lead. The championship heads to Florida for the next rounds at the 12 Hours of Sebring in March.