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TYLER GONZALEZ WINS MAZDA MX-5 CUP AT ROAD ATLANTA

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It was a winning weekend for Tyler Gonzalez during the final event of the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BF Goodrich. Scoring a podium result on Thursday afternoon, Gonzalez returned Friday to put his Copeland Motorsports machine at the front of the field and climb to the top step of the podium.

Gonzalez led the Copeland Motorsports squad in qualifying as his sixth-place result saw him line up for race one on the outside of row three. When the green flag flew and on lap eight, the lead trio including Gonzalez, who was second, had opened a three-second gap on the fourth-place driver to make it a three-horse race.

As the lead trio swapped positions lap-after-lap, the caution flag flew with nine minutes remaining to bunch the field up for a shootout for the win. In a position to attack when the race went back green, Gonzalez was forced to settle for the third position and another podium result for his results resume.

Back to track on Friday for the Mazda MX-5 Cup finale, Gonzalez made quick work moving from ninth to fifth in the opening three laps. Battling hard as the top-20 ran nose to tail, Gonzalez fell back to just inside the top-ten before moving back forward to seventh as the caution flag flew twice in a brief period. Resetting himself and ready for the final 25 minutes of the season, Gonzalez made his bid to move forward. Moving into fifth as the green flag flew, Gonzalez gained another position a few laps later to move into fourth. With five minutes remaining, the Copeland Motorsports driver moved to third and then to second as he aimed to close the season with a win. Taking the lead on the penultimate lap and defending like a seasoned veteran, Gonzalez scored his third win of the season as he drove to the checkered flag.

In his Michelin Pilot Challenge Van Der Steur Racing entry, Gonzalez and Rory Van Der Steur had a solid pair of practice sessions that led into qualifying where they were able to clock the sixth fastest lap of the session. With a long wait until the Fox Factory 120 on Friday afternoon, the team went to work to prepare the best car possible for the two-hour event.

With Rory Van Der Steur starting the race, the team owner and driver was able to move his way forward and into the top-three. Battling for second, a small mistake while making a move to gain another position sent the #19 Hyundai off the track contacting the wall. Returning to the pit lane for repairs, Van Der Steur continued his stint before handing the controls to Gonzalez. After a few laps of action, Gonzalez returned to the paddock to retire the car.

“It was a tough way to end the season, but I will shift my focus to next year,” explained Gonzalez. “I hope to be able to announce some plans soon. A huge thank you to Rory Van Der Steur and the Van Der Steur Racing program. It was a great opportunity to work with Rory and his team, and I hope that we can work together more in the future.”

Stay tuned to the Tyler Gonzalez social media pages for news, information, photos, and results from all event weekends. You can find him via his social media pages at ‘Tyler Gonzalez Racing’.

Photo Credit: IMSA

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