Liam McNeilly Shines at Mid-Ohio
 July 10, 2024| 
  • Team News
McNeilly_USFJ_M-O-2
LEXINGTON, Ohio – British rising star Liam McNeilly showcased his talent and speed once again at the Tatuus Grand Prix of Mid-Ohio this past weekend. Driving the No. 9 Jay Howard Driver Development USF Juniors Presented by Continental Tire Tatuus JR-23, McNeilly closed the championship points gap to just nine points from the leader after collecting a third-place finish and a win for race one and two respectively, intensifying his hunt for the title.

In Friday's qualifying session, McNeilly secured pole position with a 1:25.9012 lap, earning his third Continental Pole Award of the season. This achievement set the stage for an eventful weekend.

Race one, held later that Friday, began under damp conditions due to earlier showers, forcing all competitors to start on wet tires. As the track dried, McNeilly led convincingly in the early stages Following an incident that caused a full course yellow, most of the field opted to pit and change to slick tires. McNeilly waited an extra lap before pitting but managed to fly back through the field, finishing in third place and keeping his championship hopes alive.

Reflecting on the race, McNeilly said, “We had a really strong race, we started on wet tires and made a bit of a gap for the first laps. The track dried up a lot and we had an unfortunate timing of the safety car. We boxed for slicks and we came out in around 14th position. I had a really good pace for the rest of the race and finished third with good championship points.”

Saturday brought race two, and McNeilly started at the front of the field once again, earning his fourth Continental Tire Pole Award by posting the fastest second-best lap of the field during Friday's qualifying session.

Under sunny skies and a dry track, McNeilly managed to build a small margin over the field after an early caution. A late yellow flag ended the race with a one-lap fight to the checkered flag, where McNeilly successfully defended his position to take the win for the Jay Howard Racing Development team. Leading from start to finish, McNeilly closed the championship gap to nine points with only two rounds to go.

“Race 2 was a little less hectic,” McNeilly commented. “I had a good start and pulled out a bit of a gap for the first few laps. I had a bit of pressure mid-race and had to defend. I got a full course caution right at the end of the race and had a 1 lap dash to the finish. I had a good restart and defended turn 2, got a good run out and came across the line in P1. The team did a mega job this weekend. I knew the car was going to be fast so it was just about getting the results.”

McNeilly added, “We’ve made up big points in the championship this weekend. To think we’d be nine points off the top after the DNF at Barber is pretty crazy. We have two rounds left so full push and let’s see how it unfolds.”

With his eyes set on the championship, McNeilly aims to secure the scholarship valued at $263,700 to advance to the next step of the USF Pro Championships driver development ladder, USF2000, in 2025.

McNeilly’s championship hunt continues at the Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, on August 10-11, 2024, in another tripleheader event.
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