The 2014-15 season for Phil Zuidema is shaping up as a break-out year for the relative new comer to the Late Model ranks. Phil has recently purchased a 2012 Barry Wright Race Car which was campaigned briefly by Kenny Compton Jnr from Bland, Virginia. It’s fair to say Phil’s close association with Michael Holmes helped his decision to settle on a Barry Wright.
“I flew to the US last year with Michael visiting the Barry Wright Race Shop and travelled with the Clint Bowyer owned Barry Wright Race Team. Being able to talk with the guys that build and race the cars was really interesting and can only benefit my racing.”
The car will be arriving turn key with a ‘525’ crate motor. These engines are based on the 6.0 LS3 chev, similar to what you’d find in a HSV VE commodore. As the name suggests they produce around 525 hp.
Previously, Phil ran a 350 crate engine in a Rocket chassis and surprised many with how fast he was with a ‘little’ motor. He kicked off the year with two top 5 finishes and completed the Hoosier Pro Dirt Series in 8th Overall.
“We were competitive all last year but the gap between a 400hp 350 crate motor and an open late model engine is wide. The extra horsepower of the ‘525’ and the fact that it is an all-aluminium motor closes the gap enough to be realilistic about a podium finish.”
There has been some concern in Late Model circles that Phil’s decision to run crate motors is part of a future plan to run a crate only division.
“That simply isn’t the case, the Pro Dirt series is where I want to race, it’s where the best drivers are. My decision to run a crate motor is all to do with my budget and maintenance. They cost $7250 US, have a wet sump, run BP 98 Octane and have proven to be reliable. With my last car I was able to spend more time learning car set-up than fixing engine problems, so I’m hoping to replicate that with my new car.”
“My budget doesn’t allow for any east coast racing at the moment, making it to every Pro Dirt show will be enough of a challenge this year.”
You can keep up to date with Phil’s progress via his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/ZuidemaRacing