It was the start of the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BF Goodrich season this past weekend at the Daytona International Speedway and it was a career-best for Max Opalski. Leading the Copeland Motorsports team in qualifying, Opalski earned a pair of top-ten results including a fifth-place finish during race two for a solid start to the 2023 race season.
A renewed Opalski entered the 2023 season looking to improve on his prior season results and started that in the very first official session of the season. After finding his way through the two practice sessions, Opalski rocketed his way to the pointy end of the grid and ended the qualifying session in third. Starting the first wheel-to-wheel action of the season from the inside of row two, Opalski immediately moved to second on the entry of the first corner and held his own for the first half of the race. Falling back to fourth but working his way back forward to second, contact entering the first corner during the 20th minute, pushing him wide and down the running order to 14th.
“It was disappointing to be shoved wide essentially ruining any chance at a podium,” expressed Opalski. “We proved that we had the speed to run back down the lead group and score the fifth fastest lap of the race so that is something to build towards tomorrow. This was by far and away the best drive that I have had in the MX-5 Cup Series, and it makes me hungrier to get on the podium tomorrow.”
Returning to the track Friday for the second wheel-to-wheel action of the year, Opalski started the 45-minute race from the inside of row three in the fifth position. Quickly moving forward to run as high as third on occasion, the Copeland Motorsports driver fell back to 11th but never showed signs of giving up.
“I fell back to just outside the top-ten and lost the draft,” explained Opalski. “I just kept my head down and pushed hard to close the gap. It was great to show the speed and be able to work our way back forward once again.”
With a late race caution and a one lap dash to the finish, Opalski was able to drive to a fifth-place result, his best career result in MX-5 competition as he completed his best weekend of car racing to date. Additionally, Max propelled the potent Copeland Motorsports squad to three top-five results and will now shift his focus to the next event in five weeks’ time.
The next stop for the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BF Goodrich is March 3-5 in St. Petersburg at the Grand Prix of St. Pete.
For more information on Max Opalski, please search for him via his social media pages on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram by searching Max Opalski Racing.
Photo: RTD Media