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Max Opalski Carrying Lessons From IMSA Mustang Challenge Opener Into Rounds Three and Four at Watkins Glen

The Owner/Driver Will Pilot the No. 2 Ford Mustang Dark Horse R Sponsored by James Hardie and Opal Enterprises With New Knowledge From the Opening Weekend

WATKINS GLEN, New York (June 19, 2024) – Max Opalski has his eyes up and focus forward for the second stop of the 2024 IMSA Mustang Challenge series this weekend at Watkins Glen International, carrying lessons from the first weekend forward for he and his Max Opalski Racing program.

The 18-year-old driver and team owner, like many in the paddock, had almost no experience with the brand-new Ford Mustang Dark Horse R before the series debut at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago. His No. 2 Opal Enterprises/Max Opalski Racing Ford Mustang Dark Horse R arrived in time to be broken in on the dyno, wrapped in its black and green livery and taken to the track from the shop in Charlotte.

Each bit of experience from Mid-Ohio will carry over to rounds three and four at Watkins Glen this weekend in support of the famed IMSA WeatherTech Championship Six Hours of the Glen. Round three takes place on Friday at 3:15 p.m. EDT with a quick turnaround for Saturday morning’s 8:05 a.m. start. Both races are 45-minutes in length and can be seen live on and via subscription on Peacock.

The opener at Mid-Ohio was full of ups and downs for Opalski and the team. He moved forward to a strong sixth-place finish on Saturday, tops among the “small teams” in the paddock. Sunday’s race two felt even more promising, but ended just as quickly when Opalski was knocked off track in the first turn into the grass and collected a third car. Though the results fell short of expectations, the team gathered invaluable knowledge on the car and the suspension package to carry forward through the rest of the season.

“Last weekend was the way it was, but now we have something to build on,” Opalski said. “There was a lot of change and hard work in between the last race and this weekend. I think we’re coming to Watkins Glen a lot more prepared because of what we know. I feel a lot more confident in our setup package. It was a new crew, a new team, and there were just things that had to be worked out in the first race. Now that’s over, I think this week will go much smoother. I believe everything will play out better and translate to what’s happening on the track so we can fight for podiums.”

Armed with that experience and a change in the baseline setup, Opalski is ready for Watkins Glen and the first practice on Thursday morning. He’s got track knowledge, having competed in the IMSA Mazda MX-5 Cup events at the track the past two season. Though he’s yet to land on the podium, he’s completed every lap in the four races at Watkins Glen as a 16 and 17-year-old – no small feat in that contact-filled championship.

“Watkins Glen is definitely a proper racetrack, which is cool,” Opalski said. “The Mustang is heavy, so you’ll be waiting on it unlike the MX-5 Cup. It should be fast here if you have a good setup. You want to have as much speed as you can through the corners. If we can get the car to carry the speed in and you can get the power planted down early to power off the corner and onto the long straightaways, it’s the key to going fast here.”

Prior to going on-track this weekend, Opalski will be part of a Wednesday evening with a free event near the track at The Yard, a family entertainment center in the town of Watkins Glen, that will feature a driver autograph session, go-karting, live music and more from 5 – 7 p.m. EDT. Fans in attendance will have the chance to get Opalski’s autograph, along with other IMSA drivers, and even win tickets for the weekend to see the race.

Opalski’s chase of his first Mustang Challenge podium begins on Thursday with a pair of 30-minute practices. Qualifying takes place at 8 a.m. EDT on Friday morning, followed by the 3:15 p.m. green flag on Friday and an 8:05 a.m. EDT start on Saturday morning. Each race is 45 minutes in length, available at IMSA.TV for free around the world or on Peacock for subscribers to that service.

About Max Opalski Racing: Founded in 2024 by 18-year-old racer Max Opalski, Max Opalski Racing has put its maiden-season effort into the IMSA Mustang Challenge championship featuring the brand-new Ford Racing Mustang Dark Horse R race car. Based in Mooresville, North Carolina, Max Opalski Racing is dedicated to championship-winning racing efforts within their customer racing program, which includes driver coaching at races and testing in their program. Away from the Mustang Challenge program, Max Opalski Racing utilizes the skills and abilities of Opalski for coaching, both in real life and through sim racing. More information on Max Opalski Racing can be found at, on Facebook and on Instagram.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of


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