The start to the MX-5 Cup title defense has gotten off to an up-and-down start for Gresham Wagner and Spark Performance. Beginning with a crash in Qualifying at the season opener to a fortunate win at Mid-Ohio, Wagner’s 2022 MX-5 Cup season has seen successes and rocky moments that leave him 3rd in the Driver’s Championship after 6 Rounds.
Daytona: Round 1 of the championship looked to be a strong recovery drive for Wagner, after driving from a 16th place start to the lead of the race, coming to the white flag. However, a last-minute drive-through penalty left him with a finish of 21st. In Race 2, Wagner started in 29th place, at the back of the field. He quickly raced his way to 2nd place before the race ended under a full-course yellow.
Streets of St. Pete: In a hotly contested Race 1 of the event, Wagner found himself in 2nd place for the majority of the race, chasing leader Jared Thomas. However, the momentum of his charge stalled out, and Wagner settled for his second podium of the season. In Race 2, Wagner raced to the front of the top 3, and they quickly opened up a multi-second gap to 4th place. A full-course yellow ruined the progress of the front-runners, and packed the field together. On the restart, Wagner was quickly shuffled to 4th place, made his way back to second, and then succumbed to severe brake-fade that saw him fall to 7th.
Mid-Ohio: Wagner battled for the lead in the opening half of Race 1 before weather and lightning led to a red flag. The race never restarted, and with Wagner leading at the time of the stoppage, he was awarded the win, marking his 8th in the series and 20th podium finish. In Race 2, Wagner was quickly shuffled out of the lead group, and after a hard-fought race with handling problems and a lack of pace, ended with a 5th place.
While a podium at each event has kept Wagner in the top 3 in the Driver’s Championship, the accompanying 21st, 7th, and 5th place finishes have seen his title challenge held back. The series now heads into the second part of the season, with the next event at Watkins Glen International on June 23-26.