It’s finally May in Indianapolis. The USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires drivers of TJ Speed took on the road course at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway this past weekend. With the 14-turn layout offering plenty of action this weekend, Mother Nature played a role as well as causing a race stoppage and switch to wet weather tires and a huge mix-up in the running order.
During qualifying on Friday, the track conditions were slick due to the rain that fell the night before and throughout the early morning hours. With multiple red flags causing a long wait period during a slow-speed qualifying session, TJ Speed’s Francesco Pizzi led the trio with a P3 effort, just ahead of Lirim Zendeli in fifth and Christian Weir in 14th.
Between yellow flags and rain, race one had plenty of position changes that saw the TJ Speed drivers moving up and down throughout the entire race. Staying clear of damage, the challenges the drivers faced were tire strategy, weather, and traffic. Zendeli defended his position at the front of the pack for most of the race and after the rain started to fall, a red flag ultimately turned the race turned into a timed event with just over 20 minutes remaining. As the wheel-to-wheel action was restarted and eventually came to an end, Weir led the TJ Speed drivers and secured an eighth-place result with Pizzi finishing in 11th and Zendeli in 14th.
For race two, the starting lineup was decided by race one fast time meaning Pizzi started on the outside of the front row in second, Zendeli in sixth, and Weir in seventh.
“Having all three of our drivers be in the top-ten for race two was a great start to our final event of the weekend,” explained Tim Neff. “We just need to keep the pressure on and make sure we are in a position to content when the checkered flag flies.”
Race two started and along with it, places shook up all throughout the field. As a yellow flag came out the pack of cars gathered close together, but Pizzi held the point when the race went back green. As soon as cars started to spread out there was contact behind Pizzi causing a yellow to come out with a wing on the front stretch and contact at the first complex of corners. Back to green again, Pizzi was unable to keep the lead as his teammate Christian Weir made a jump up to fourth during the restart and was ready to fight for the podium. As the race wore on, battles would rage causing TJ Speed drivers to move both forward and back with Weir earning the best result for the team, and his best result of the season in sixth, just ahead of Pizzi in seventh and Zendeli in tenth.
The TJ Speed USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires drivers will take on the Lucas Oil Raceway on May 25-26 for round seven of their 2023 schedule. The 0.686-mile oval is the next event where we will see the drivers continue to fight for the championship points.
Photo Credit: RTD Media