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VICTORY FOR GONZALEZ IN MX-5 CUP AND POLE POSITION IN MICHELIN PILOT CHALLENGE

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It was a double event weekend for Tyler Gonzalez and a winning one for the young teenager from Florida. Taking on the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge program and the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BF Goodrich, Gonzalez left the Virginia International Raceway (VIR) with a pole position, victory, and a pair of top-ten results.

After a day of practice, it would be the tale of two stories for Tyler Gonzalez in qualifying as he found himself at the opposite ends of the field in the two classes of competition. Flexing his muscles in the Van Der Steur Racing #19 entry in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, Gonzalez earned the pole position after a light drizzle set up a two-lap shootout for the pole position. On the other end of the spectrum, an issue with his Copeland Motorsports #51 entry saw him at the bottom of the results sheets in MX-5 Cup qualifying.

“Both good and bad in qualifying for us this morning,” explained Gonzalez. “On the positive side of the coin, we were able to score the fastest lap and pole position in Michelin Pilot Challenge. There was a slight drizzle, but we managed to put it all together in the two-lap shootout to take the pole position. Looking to repeat the performance in MX-5 Cup, we had an issue that hindered the speed of our car. Due to that, we will be starting from the back of the grid in both races this weekend.”

Beginning the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race from the pole position, Gonzalez would lead the field to green and held the point for the opening four circuits. Falling to second for the next 22 laps, Gonzalez returned to the point prior to the mandatory pit stop. Handing the controls to Rory Van Der Steur for the second half of the race, Van Der Steur would exit the pits in fifth before eventually falling to eighth after an off-track excursion. Regaining his composure and finding speed in the latter stages, Van Der Steur was able to climb his way back to sixth before the checkered flag flew.

Back on track later that afternoon in the first race of the weekend in the Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BF Goodrich, Gonzalez would have his work cut out for him. Starting shotgun on the field after an issue in qualifying, the Copeland Motorsports pilot had a career drive moving through the field to take the win. Gaining 26 positions in 20 laps, Gonzalez put his familiar orange Copeland Motorsports machine in victory lane.

“What a race!” expressed Gonzalez. “I knew we had the speed, and the result was a reward to the team for all their hard work this weekend and throughout the year. Let’s do it again tomorrow.”

Back to the track on Sunday, Gonzalez would rocket his way forward from last on the grid and into the top-12 by lap six. Continuing his march forward, the #51 machine was up to fifth as he looked to repeat his performance from the day prior but unfortunately, disaster would strike on lap 11 and Gonzalez would fail to finish.

Gonzalez added, “I would have loved to make it back-to-back wins, and I think we were on our way in doing so. Great to get the win yesterday and show the speed of the Copeland Motorsports machine today, but we will now shift our focus Road Atlanta in one month.”

With one event weekend remaining in the Michelin Pilot Challenge and MX-5 Cup, Tyler Gonzalez will begin his preparation for the Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta over the September 28 to October 1 weekend.

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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