Entering Road America adrift in the MX-5 Cup points standings after a tough event at Watkins Glen, a pair of 3rd and 4th place finishes, with trouble for some rivals, helped bolster Wagner’s efforts to defend his 2021 championship.
After qualifying outside of the top 10 for the pair of MX-5 Cup races (Rounds 9 & 10) at Road America, Wagner and the Spark Performance team had a challenge ahead of them heading into the 45-minute races.
In Race 1, Wagner immediately was caught up in a Lap 1 collision when cars ahead came together in Turn 5. With no FCY called for the incident, Wagner was even farther back in the pack and separated from the lead draft. However, he quickly gained multiple spots in the next couple of laps, and found himself at the head of the second pack. A few strong laps, setting the quickest laps times of the race, helped Wagner break away from the pack behind and catch the lead draft. He spent the middle portion of the race fighting his way through to the Top 5, making it up to 3rd for the final FCY restart with 2 minutes to go. Wagner remained in 3rd on the final lap dash, holding on to the spot in front of a large pack behind.
A similar challenge lied ahead of Race 2, with Wagner taking the start in 12th place. He again worked his way through the field into the lead draft of 4 cars. The lead draft of Connor Zilisch, Jared Thomas, Matthew Dirks, and Wagner broke away from the rest of the field, and ran nose-to-tail until the battle for the win. On the last lap, big moves in Turn 1 left Wagner in 2nd, but with some significant steering damage. Wagner tried to hold on to 2nd, but coming to the end of the lap, was drafted past and shuffled back to 4th at the line.
Still, the pair of decent finishes moved him up the championship table, and gave Wagner and the team some momentum heading to the next event at VIRginia International Raceway.