Ever wonder about the women behind the men who run NASCAR race tracks? Suzanne Igdalsky, the wife of Pocono Raceway President and CEO Brandon Igdalsky, is one of those special women, working on race weekend to do all she can at track, as well as running her own business and being mom to 12-year-old twin girls.
And while many may think that Suzanne’s connection to NASCAR started with her marriage into the Pocono Raceway family, she was actually born into it herself growing up in Lehighton just a half hour from the Pocono race track.
“A funny story, my grandfather had owned a hunting cabin that was adjacent to track property,” Igdalsky said. “And he was here before Doc Mattioli even came into this area.”
“After the track was built, I would come up as a kid for every race. And after the race, my grandfather and I would collect cans under the grandstands. So, I’ve been coming around NASCAR since I was a little girl.”
In spite of spending so much time at Pocono Raceway, Suzanne and her husband’s paths did not cross until she finished college.
“After I finished my Bachelor’s degree, I had gone out with a couple of friends,” Igdalsky said. “And I met Brandon at Shenanigans, which Brandon likes to call a bar but I say is a restaurant.”
“He just sort of popped out in front of me and started talking to me. It was cute. And it was cute because our grandfathers had some differences, which was interesting. But it all turned out well and both grandparents were at the wedding and on great terms.”
Once they tied the knot, Suzanne began to realize the enormity of the job her husband had running the race track and began to immerse herself in it as well in order to help and support the family business.
“In the beginning, to be honest, I didn’t pay as much attention as I probably should have,” Igdalsky said. “But as I started to realize what this was all about, I now try to attend as many functions as I can with Brandon and be a support for him.”
“And I also try to network myself with the NASCAR community and I absolutely have grown to love NASCAR. The NASCAR family has become a second family to our family.”
While Suzanne has embraced the NASCAR family, her own family, especially twin daughters Madison and McKenzie, are her top priorities. So, will they be the next generation in the Pocono Raceway family business?
“Well, the kids just want to be kids right now,” Igdalsky said. “Would I say they are interested? I would say yes. Do I think that they are going to be in this industry when they are older? I cannot say.”
“They both have strong personalities. Madison is Brandon’s little clone, so perhaps I could see her being involved, especially with social media because she is really good with that. And McKenzie is very scholarly and she likes to read her books.”
“I guess time will tell about their involvement in the future at the track.”
While family is of utmost importance to Suzanne Igdalsky, what she says surprises people most about her is that she also runs a very successful business of her own. Not surprising, however, is that her business benefits children with special needs and their families.
“I’m a speech pathologist and I work with kids from birth to age 3 in early intervention,” Igdalsky said. “I actually own my own early intervention agency now. I’m now in five counties and I have grown to about 15 staff.”
“We are family-centered and routines-based, which means we work wherever is best for the child. It could be at daycare, at grandparent’s houses, or even grocery stores. I had one therapist meet her child at the pool.”
“We want to work on the child’s goals in their natural environment. So, if a family is having trouble going to the grocery store, we will come out and work with them wherever they need the help.”
In addition to her thriving business, Igdalsky is also involved in volunteering and helping the Pocono community whenever possible.
“Obviously, doing volunteer work with children is a big thing for me. Autism is a part of my life and I have a soft spot there.”
“But I’m also an animal lover. I’m always trying to support different kinds of animal charities. I admit that I am a cat lady, with one indoor cat and the stray cats that have also found their way to me.”
“So, I now have about 9 outside cats, which Brandon is not a fan of. But, because he loves me, he indulges me and is flexible with it.”
While Suzanne Igdalsky balances her role as race track wife, mother, businesswoman and philanthropist, her greatest memories to date at Pocono involve two very special family members.
“I have many great memories of growing up here and having my family here,” Igdalsky said. “But my greatest memory was when Doc (Mattioli) and Rose were in good health and were here with us.”
“Yes, that is the best memory for me.”