After narrowly missing out on a win in the first Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires race at the Grand Prix of St. Petersburg, Connor Zilisch (No. 72 Hixon Motor Sports) got the job done in Race Two on Saturday. Zilisch lead the field to the finish line in a race that ended under full-course yellow.
The winner in Saturday morning’s race, Gresham Wagner (No. 5 Spark Performance) started from pole, but brushed the wall on lap two and fell down the order. The battle up front became a three-way fight between Aaron Jeansonne (No. 24 JTR Motorsports Engineering), Zilisch and Tyler Gonzalez (No. 51 Copeland Motorsports).
While dicing for the lead, Gonzalez ran wide, made contact with the wall and came to a stop in Turn Four. This brought out the first full-course caution with Zilisch in the lead.
On the first lap back to green, Wagner was knocked into a slide through Turn Four. He made contact with innocent bystander Thomas Annunziata (No. 10 Hixon Motor Sports) before hitting the tires.
When the scene was cleared and green flag racing resumed, Zilisch was leading Jeansonne and Robert Noaker (No. 13 Robert Noaker Racing). Neither had an opportunity to make their bid for the lead, as another full-course caution came out shortly after the restart.
This full-course caution involved four cars making contact with the wall, the tires and each other in Turn Four. There was not enough time left on the race clock to resume racing and the checkered flag was issued alongside the yellow.
Though he was aided by the long caution periods, Zilisch survived two restarts to secure his first win of the season.
“I didn’t want to win like that (under yellow), but I really enjoy being out front and the team gave me a car that let me run up front like that,” said Zilisch. “I was able to capitalize on that and get ourselves out front. I timed the restarts well and was able to get a little bit of a gap on Aaron [Jeansonne] for the two restarts that we had. I’m just thankful for the whole Hixon team-Shea Holbrook, Brian Hixon, and Andrew Carbonell. Thankful to be on top and really excited for Laguna Seca.”
The win nets Zilisch a nice $6,000 check from Mazda.
Read the full article at MazdaMotorsports.com