Opening the 2023 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Championship at Daytona, Gresham Wagner and Spark Performance brought home two Top 5 finishes from the event, with a third place finish in Race 2.
The Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup has begun the last three seasons at the iconic Daytona International Speedway, and Wagner and Spark Performance have always been strong, earning a debut win at the event and managing a podium at each event since.
With an average qualifying result for Race 1, Wagner quickly made his way to the front of the pack, and battled for the lead for the duration of the lead. At the finish, Wagner made a slight tactical mistake and ended up with a slightly disappointing fifth place finish.
However, Wagner started closer to the front in Race 2, and had higher hopes for the race than another Top 5. A big mistake from Wagner on the opening lap saw him fall outside of the Top 20. Fortunately, with the strong draft at Daytona, he was able to work his way back to tenth place. A big incident near the final stretch of the race brought out a Safety Car, and it was unclear if the race would have enough time to go back green. Thanks to quick work from the marshals, the race went back green with just enough time for a one-lap shootout. Wagner took the restart in tenth, and made the right moves to work his way to third by the end of the lap, salvaging a podium finish after his early mistake.
The consistent finishes were a welcome result to begin the championship, with Wagner leaving the season opener in a Top 3 points position and opportunity to challenge for another championship in 2023. The next event of the Idemitsu MX-5 Cup sees the series head to the Streets of St. Petersburg the first weekend in March.