Zilisch Wins First Mazda MX-5 Cup Pole of the Year in Short Qualifying
 January 26, 2023| 
  • Team News

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 26, 2023) – Connor Zilisch (No. 72 Hixon Motor Sports) scored $80,000 from Mazda for his run to last year’s Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich® Tires Rookie of the Year. He got his 2023 season off to a fast start by taking the pole for Thursday’s season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.


He will share the front row with John Jodoin (No. 39 McCumbee McAleer Racing).


"It feels good to start the year on the pole with Hixon Motor Sports," Zilisch said. “We ended last year really well with a five-race podium streak. We’ve got eight cars here this weekend. It takes a lot of work to prepare eight cars, so to be the quickest in qualifying as well shows a lot about the team and their effort. I’m proud to represent this team and get a good start to the year.”


Zilisch won the pole spot with a new qualifying lap record of 2:07.339. Based on second-quickest lap time, Zilisch provisionally has the pole for Friday’s race as well. A change to the 2023 rules stipulate that the grid for Race Two is set by second-fastest qualifying lap or fastest lap in Race One, whichever is quickest.


The highest qualifying rookie in the field was Jim Hayosh (No. 81 JTR Motorsports Engineering).


The 15-minute Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup qualifying session was cut short due to a pair of cars that collided in the Le Mans Chicane.


The first race of the 2023 Mazda MX-5 Cup season goes green at 5:30pm ET and will be streamed live on RACER.com and IMSA.com/tvlive.

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