It was a winning weekend for Tyler Gonzalez at the opening event weekend of the 2023 Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BF Goodrich. Taking home the round one victory, Gonzalez went to stand on the podium in race two at the Daytona International Speedway to leave the first wheel-to-wheel action of the season as the point leader.
After a disappointing qualifying result due to a shortened session because of a session-ending caution period, Tyler Gonzalez would begin his 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup season from the outside of row ten in the 20th position. As the 2022 round one winner, Gonzalez was looking to start the 2023 season in the same position and after the 45-minute race, found himself back in the Daytona International Speedway victory circle.
“What a race. To start 20th and score the win for the second consecutive year is a great way to start the season, but there is some more work to do tomorrow,” explained Gonzalez. “We would love to leave the weekend with two wins so that is the goal.”
After starting P20 and moving to 11th on the opening lap, Gonzalez moved to ninth a lap later, sixth the lap after that, and then to fourth. Leading mid-race through the 45-minute event, Gonzalez found himself inside the top-five for the final 20 minutes. Taking the white flag with two laps to go and falling to fourth at the start of the last lap, Gonzalez methodically worked his way back to second with one corner to go. Receiving a big push from behind and making his move as late as possible, the #57 Copeland Motorsports entry moved to the outside to take the win by .015 in a Mazda MX-5 Cup photo finish.
Back to the track on Friday morning for round two of the season, Gonzalez started the second wheel-to-wheel race of the week from the fourth position and was in the battle for the win all race long. Running in the top-five throughout the race, a late race caution set up a one-lap dash for the checkered flag. Leading coming to the line, Gonzalez fell victim to the Daytona draft losing the position in the last few hundred yards to cross the line in second.
Gonzalez added, “I wanted to win both here in Daytona but with a first and a second to start the season, momentum is on our side as we look forward to the second event and will enter that as the point leader.”
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 Tyler Gonzalez, please search for him via his social media pages at ‘Tyler Gonzalez Racing’.
Photo Credit: RTD Media