When an early care slowed the action on the streets of St. Petersburg, Michael Carter (No. Carter took the win by over 2 seconds, a massive margin in MX-5 Cup competitors, and leaves St. Petersburg in the points lead following six races in the 14- race championship.
Beginning from the pole, Carter held off Gresham Wagner (No. 5 Spark Performance) through the opening laps. This provided Carter the opportunity to develop a comfortable gap, until 10 minutes into the race, the automobile of Aaron Jeansonne (No. 24 Provision Motorsports) caught fire and brought out the race’s just full-course yellow.
When the track was clear and green flag racing resumed, there was 26 minutes left on the race clock. This began a hectic fight for second through 6th positions, which enabled Carter to as soon as again retreat.
The battle for the final 2 podium spots was intense. 28 McCumbee McAleer Racing) emerged as the breakaway driver to chase down Carter.
While scrapping for 3rd, Wagner and Jared Thomas (No. He eventually climbed back to 16 th at the finish.
Race 1 winner Selin Rollan (No.
Up front, Paley was ever so somewhat trying Carter’s lead, however eventually ran out of time. Carter took the win by 2.210 seconds over Paley.
” That was how you want them to go,” Carter said. “You want to rest on pole, lead every lap, and win the race. We didn’t get that done this morning, but it was excellent to do that in Race 2. I worked my tail off to get that space before the yellow and after that when the yellow came out, I radioed ‘I just did all that for absolutely nothing!’ But thankfully, when we restarted, they got to racing actually difficult and I had the ability to do it once again. The last ten laps, I was simply looking after everything as much as I could.”
Carter’s 2 poles, 2 quick laps, runner-up surface in Race One and win in Race 2 have propelled him into the MX-5 Cup Champion lead by 120 points over Wagner.
” Congrats to Sam (Paley), he drove his tail off and to Gresham (Wagner) also after he had that issue in race one,” Carter added. “Also, a huge thank you to everyone at Coaches Corner back in Savannah who watches us and supports us, a big thank you to them!”
Paley collected his 2nd podium of his rookie season. His very first top-three came in his Mazda MX-5 Cup launching at Daytona International Raceway in January.
” Truthfully, that was probably the hardest race of my entire life,” a red-faced Paley said. I had the automobile and gave it whatever I had so I’m satisfied with second, particularly after the DNF in race one.
Third was a rewarding finish for Wagner after a drivetrain problem in Race One forced him to retire. His relief was tempered with some remorse for his contact with Thomas, though race authorities deemed it to be a racing event without any charges provided.
” I am a bit relieved,” Wagner confessed. “I said after my Daytona win, that was the hardest race I had ever driven, however today has that one beat! The heat, the period, simply being so hectic around here, it was callous.
” I feel good about the result, but I do feel bad about the contact I had with Jared Thomas,” he added. “Eventually, I think it was more of a racing deal, and I guess race control concurred. And that’s simply not how you want anything to go when you are racing someone.
Finishing fourth, 15 year-old Luca Mars (No. 41 Copeland Motorsports) had his best MX-5 Cup race weekend so far. The novice ended up fifth in Race One.
Novice chauffeurs had a strong showing on the streets of St. Petersburg; five of them finished in the top 10 in Race 2. 32 JTR Motorsports Engineering) ended up sixth, Juan Hernandez Leiva (No.
The 2019 Mazda MX-5 Cup Champ Bryan Ortiz (No. 4 Copeland Motorsports) finished the top five.
Alex Bachoura (No. 33 Slipstream Efficiency) made the Hard Battery charger Award for advancing from 18 th to 11 th in the 45- minute race.
A recap of Rounds Five and 6 at St. Petersburg will air on NBCSN, Wednesday, May 5, at 3pm ET.
Mazda MX-5 Cup Rounds 7 and Eight will take place May 14-16 at Mid-Ohio Sports Vehicle Course. Both races will be streamed live on IMSA.com and NBC Sports Gold TrackPass.