It was the first career win for TJ Speed and Lirim Zendeli this past weekend at the famed Road America. Taking on the 4.048-mile facility, Zendeli rebounded from a DNF on Saturday to take the win on Sunday. Teammate Francesco Pizzi scored a pair of top-six finishes while rookie Christian Weir earned two front row starting spots, including the pole position for Sunday’s racing action.
It was Weir who led the trio of TJ Speed drivers in qualifying one as a solid lap netted him a front-row starting spot a scant .0056 away from the pole position. Francesco Pizzi put a pair of TJ Speed drivers in the top-ten with an eighth-place effort while Lirim Zendeli slotted himself into the inside of row six.
“We learned a lot today during the first qualifying session that will help us tomorrow,” explained Tim Neff. “We will be back at it tomorrow morning to set the grid for race two, before we go racing in the afternoon.”
Saturday morning saw the TJ Speed trio hit the track for qualifying two that set the grid for Sunday’s racing action. Once again, it was Weir who led the way, this time earning the fastest lap of the session and accompanying pole position. Lining up directly behind him for Sunday’s festivities, Lirim Zendeli clocked the third fastest lap of the session with Francesco Pizzi sixth.
With race one taking the green flag following the NTT INDYCAR SERIES qualifying session, it was hard fought battle for the TJ Speed drivers with Francesco Pizzi earning the team’s top finish. After falling back to the tail of the field, Pizzi showed his veteran racecraft, slicing and dicing his way through the field to cross the line in sixth. Weir, who started on the front row, had some issues and was forced to work his way back forward. Crossing the line ninth, it was two team drivers in the top-ten. Unfortunately, Zendeli failed to finish after contact on lap four.
Returning to the track Sunday and the first session on track, it was the second wheel-to-wheel race of the weekend for TJ Speed. Leading the field to green was young Weir but opening lap contact sent him to the pits for repairs as he plummeted down the running order. Up front, it was Lirim Zendeli who led every lap to earn his first career Pro 2000 win. Holding his competitors at bay after several caution periods, Zendeli was the man of the day. Teammate Francesco Pizzi ran second for much of the race, but a late race mistake caused him to get passed by three drivers as he fell to fifth by the time the checkered flag flew.
Neff continued, “Finally able to score our first win and it was a long time coming. The guys at the shop and our drivers have worked extremely hard and they all deserve this.”
The next stop for TJ Speed and their USF Pro 2000 Presented by Cooper Tires program will be at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course June 29 to July 2. Stay tuned for more news from TJ Speed by following all of their social media channels.
Photo Credit: RTD Media