Gresham Wagner is determined to take back the Championship lead in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich Tires. The driver of the No. 8 Spark Performance Mazda topped both practice sessions Friday at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in preparation for Rounds Seven and Eight of the season.
Track time was limited for the Mazda MX-5 Cup drivers courtesy of a red flag period in each 30-minute practice session. In the first session, Michael Globe (No. 12 Slipstream Performance) needed to be retrieved from Turn Nine. In the second session, Jared Thomas (No. 96 JTR Motorsports Engineering) made contact with the tires in Turn Six and needed a tow. The hit caused significant damage to the left-rear of the car.
In the first session, Wagner lead the way with a time of 1:36.503, but that was nothing compared to the 1:35.705 he turned in the second session.
“It was a pretty straightforward day,” Wagner said. “I did a few good laps in the first practice session and was pretty happy with the car. I knew a few areas I could improve on. Early on in the second practice the tires were good and I did a quick lap. I was pretty satisfied with that lap. I think there’s more time on the table, but the session got red flagged and when I went out, I wasn’t able to find that kind of lap time again.
“Overall, I’m super happy with the car, the balance and how everything feels. I know qualifying will be pretty intense. It’s a short session and you need to get your times in early. There will be a lot of people fighting for a good starting spot because this isn’t an easy track to pass on. If you can be up front at the beginning and run clean laps early, there’s definitely a chance to break away or narrow down the race to a few people. I’m just trying to stay in the battle up front tomorrow.”
Rookie Chris Nunes (No. 32 JTR Motorsports Engineering) and Selin Rollan (No. 87 Hixon Motor Sports) were second and third quickest of the day, respectively.
Mazda MX-5 Cup qualifying at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course will take place at 8:00am ET on Saturday. The Round Seven race goes green at 11:15am ET the same day. Round Eight takes place Sunday at 11:45am ET. Both races will be streamed live on IMSA.com and NBC Sports Gold TrackPass.