This past weekend was rounds 9 and 10 of the Global Mazda MX-5 Cup season at Watkins Glen. It’s always exciting to be up at that track, especially on an IndyCar weekend. It was a busy weekend that included the Mazda Road to Indy series finale.

With the prior testing that Ashton Harrison and Pat Wilmot had done at Watkins Glen earlier this year, we had high expectations going into the event. It was a really condensed schedule, with practice and qualifying on the first day and both races on the second day. So it was all done in just two days! Throughout practice, they didn’t have the results we were looking for due to various factors, but by the time qualifying was over, we definitely had a direction for where we needed to be for race day.

Getting air time in the bus stop!

Getting air time in the bus stop!

Ashton had a great start in the first race and was able to move up several positions. Pat, on the other hand, seemed to get shuffled back a little bit. On that first lap, some cars came together while avoiding a spun car in the bus stop chicane. Pat got collected in it, and his race was over by the fourth corner. It was disappointing to have such high hopes and then to have it all end so abruptly. Ashton pushed on and finished without incident.

The great part about the MX-5 Cup series is that you get a second race—a second chance—at each event. You can identify the areas that need improvement, like car setup or optimizing your driving, and have another shot. That’s a rewarding format to have in a development series like MX-5 Cup.

In this case, the second chance came that same afternoon. Ashton had another great start in race two. She ran as high as 8th during the race and ended up 10th in the end. It was a strong result that puts her on track to meet her goal of finishing top-ten in the championship this year. The season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will be interesting, since the drivers she competes with on track for position are the same ones competing for those top-ten spots in the championship.