A Pair of Top-Five Results and Three Top-Ten Finishes for TJ Speed

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It was a trip to Austin, Texas and the penultimate event weekend of the 2023 USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires program for rookie team TJ Speed. With a pair of drivers piloting the Tim Neff-managed program, Lirim Zendeli earned a pair of top-five results while Francesco Pizzi improved his results throughout the weekend to leave the Circuit of the Americas with a ninth-place finish.

It was Zendeli who would lead the way in the one and only qualifying session as pushed his TJ Speed #10 entry to an inside row three starting spot with an average lap speed of just under 100mph as he looked to take his fight from there. Pizzi struggled in qualifying and despite showing speed in practice, slotted into the 14th grid position and would begin his quest for a podium result from the outside of row seven.

The struggles continued for Pizzi during the first wheel-to-wheel action of the weekend on Saturday as a drop in the running order saw him finish one lap behind the leader in the 16th position while Zendeli carried the team closer to the front. A winner in 2023, Zendeli added another top-five result to his resume as he was able to salvage a fifth-place finish after the 15-lap race.

Race two on Sunday morning saw an improvement for both drivers as Zendeli made his presence felt near the front of the field, this time securing a fourth-place finish when the checkered flag flew while Pizzi was able to climb his way inside the top-ten for the first time over the weekend, crossing the line ninth.

“It was a hot weekend and a challenging one for sure,” explained TJ Speed’s Tim Neff. “We lacked a little pace but pushed throughout the event to have our best results on Sunday and leave COTA with some momentum. A huge thank you to all the guys for their hard work in high heat and humidity. They put in the effort and went above and beyond the call of duty.”

Next up for TJ Speed will be their final event of the 2023 season as they take on the triple-header finale weekend at the famed Portland International Raceway September 1-3.

Photo Credit: RTD Media