After a DNF in Race 1 at the Streets of St. Petersburg, Wagner and the Spark Performance team were aiming to get back on consistent form at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. A fourth place in Race 1, followed by a second place finish in Race 2, achieved that goal and helped recover from the points lost at the previous event. Wagner now sits second in the championship (-40 points) heading into the MX-5 Cup summer break.
The event at Mid-Ohio began with Wagner sweeping the opening two practice sessions. He followed up on his practice pace by earning a second place starting spot for Race 1, and a pole for Race 2. The races would prove a tougher affair, with a variety of familiar faces and rookies battling at the front of both races.
Race 1 began with the starting positions largely staying intact until a few laps into the race. Wagner struggled with handling problems early on and fell to the edge of the top 5. The car remained tricky to drive throughout the race and led to a few driving errors during the 45 minute affair. Ultimately, Wagner bobbled in third place with a handful of laps to go, and had to settle for a fourth place finish.
After their challenging run in Race 1, Wagner and the team made adjustments and were ready to try again in Race 2. However, technical issues plagued Wagner from the start. Starting first, Wagner immediately fell to P13 at the end of the first lap after a technical glitch. With the issue temporarily under control, Wagner quickly moved up to eighth before the first FCY. Shortly after the restart, Wagner and numerous other front-runners encountered the same technical glitch, costing them time and positions. The field shuffled lap to lap as drivers sorted through their issues and tried to stay on pace. Wagner managed the problem through the entire race, having to shut the car off and restart it on five occasions. With a handful of laps left and still cautious of his recurring problem, Wagner found himself in third position. He held onto the spot until the checkered for a grateful and relieved podium celebration. In post-race technical inspection, however, Wagner would inherit second after a disqualification.
Mid-Ohio marked the halfway point in the championship, and the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup takes its summer break until Rounds 9 & 10 on August 6-8. The series’ next stop is at the famous Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI. Wagner will head into the second half of the season in a tight battle for the top 3 championship spots.