This past weekend was the opening round of the Battery Tender Mazda Global MX-5 Cup Series Presented by BF Goodrich Tires at Barber Motorsports Park. I was there coaching teammates Ashton Harrison and Patrick Wilmot. The weather was beautiful all week, and although it was much hotter than our recent testing there, it paid off as both Ashton and Pat were already dialed in for practice.

Qualifying didn’t go as hoped. Pat experienced a mechanical issue that hindered both his qualifying performance and the team’s plan to have him and Ashton work together on track to maximize potential.

Pat receives his Hard Charger Award for Race 1!

Pat receives his Hard Charger Award for Race 1!

It was a busy race day, with both races on the same day. It would be important to finish the first race cleanly in order to make the second one. Both Ashton and Pat did just that. Pat was able to advance from his 22nd starting position to finish 8th. He even got the Hard Charger Award for the race! Ashton had a solid result, starting 18th and moving up to finish 14th. Although both drivers felt that they could have placed even better, they certainly satisfied the goals they had set going into the race, achieving the team’s best results to date in the series.

Race two was late in the afternoon, and the threat of thunderstorms was increasing. Kudos to the series, which was able to move the start time up to get the race in before it started to rain on the checkered flag lap. Ashton and Pat were able to work together as teammates this time. They moved up through the field, finishing 12th and 13th, respectively.

Both drivers felt that having to move up through the field from their qualifying positions hindered their results, but it’s good to see that they’re both hungry for stronger finishes. This is a great start to their season, and I’m excited to see what the next event brings.