Jeff Zuidema Named Race Director At Thompson International Speedway

Thompson International Speedway has a new man overseeing the competition at the facility.

Jeff Zuidema, a former regular competitor at the track, confirmed that he accepted the position of race director at the track on Wednesday.

Back problems, which have led to numerous surgeries, forced the 50-year old Zuidema out of racing competition after the 2010 season.

“My whole adult life has been racing cars,” said the 50-year old Zuidema, from North Brookfield, Mass. “It was the hardest thing in the world I had to do to walk away from driving and I think this is the next best thing.”

Zuidema has served as race director of the Pro Four Modifieds of New England since 2011 and hopes to continue in that role in addition to work at Thompson.

Zuidema said he will work hand-in-hand with Josh Vanada at the Thompson in the coming season. Vanada had been named the track’s director of competition last season. It’s unclear if Vanada’s title will be reworked.

Longtime track advisor Ben Dodge Jr. left the track last week. Zuidema said he will not be replacing Dodge as a full-time associate at the track. Zuidema said Dodge’s position will be filled through a group of people.

Zuidema will be tasked with repairing a weekly racing program at Thompson that has suffered mightily over the past few seasons. Last year the track struggled to attract double digit fields most weeks in three of its six weekly divisions. The track’s premier SK Modified division saw most of its events running with fields under 15 cars. It was confirmed Wednesday that the track will eliminate it’s Thompson Modified division, which usually ran 5-6 car fields each week in 2012.

“We need racecars,” Zuidema said. “The first thing I need to do is get some racecars to that racetrack. There was an exodus, one that even included me. The first thing that needs to be fixed is getting racecars there and that’s what I’m going to roll up my sleeves and try to do.

“I am going to be readily available to talk to anybody about anything at any point in time and I think that’s one of the things that needs to be done there.

Zuidema left the track’s Late Model division in 2009 to run regularly on the American-Canadian Tour.

“I think I bring a competitors look at things, which I will continue to bring,” Zuidema said. “I don’t know that there’s been anybody in the past in that position that actually had been a competitor so they never saw things from that side of it. I have. I know what it takes. I know the weekly struggles, I know the disappointments and I think I can bring that look at things forward and that’s one of the big things you need to bring some racecars back there.”

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Comments

  1. YEAH BUDDY!

  2. Congrats to Jeff Zuidema's new position at Thompson Speedway. We look forward to racing this year with you as Race Director! The New Year is already shaping up nicely! :)

  3. Lori Butenas says:

    Conrats Jeff, can't wait to see the changes to Thompson.

  4. Lori Butenas says:

    Congrats Jeffm can't wait to see the changes to Thompson.

  5. Robin Supe says:

    Goos luck, we will make a point to support you and your new family. If anyone can turn that track around I would put money on you. Gary & Robin Suprenant.

  6. Bridge the gap in the rules from other tracks. The Thompson mod was a perfect example. The Speedbowl was running the X-mods before the whole SK light took hold. Thompson had the opportunity to do the same, but failed. Next, should be ACT type LM's, and let's reign the Sportsman in a little. ya know…. just do what the competitors have been saying for years. Maybe somebody will start to listen. They are worried that they will lose teams if their rules are too close to other tracks, but fail to realize just the opposite will happen.

  7. John Gates says:

    Good move Thompson Speedway and good call Steve Barrett.

  8. Anonymous says:

    hope you can turn things around – How can you forget that Slater and Yerrington both served as promoters in the past.

  9. Hank Stott says:

    Brilliant move by the Hoenig family…ever hear the expression….change is good!!

  10. Barry Gray says:

    congrats and good luck.

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