Tim Rinaldi is a lifelong race fan from Detroit, Michigan. As a Michigander, he attends both Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races at Michigan International Speedway each year. But, he also loves traveling around the country to see race action in-person at other venues and has been to a lot of tracks, including Daytona International Speedway! We caught up with Tim briefly as he prepares to kick off another race season at the 61st DAYTONA 500, with PRIMESPORT, the Official Travel Provider of Daytona International Speedway.
Q: How did you become interested in racing?
A: I had no choice! My dad and uncle owned an auto repair shop and they used to race. From a young age, racing was in my blood.
Q: When did you attend your first NASCAR event?
A: I was 11 years old when I attended my first race ever…the 1966 Indianapolis 500. But my first NASCAR race was in 1969 at Michigan International Speedway. The track was built one year prior and hosted a USAC race, but it didn’t host a NASCAR event until ’69. I remember it like it was yesterday and have been going back to the track for as many NASCAR races as possible. That is my home track!
Q: What was your most memorable driver interaction?
A: I’ve been to Homestead-Miami Speedway a few times and enjoy it each time I go. One year, I went to the Championship Weekend races with a VIP package from PRIMESPORT. During the garage tour, we ran into Brad Keselowski and he talked to our group in the garage area for at least 30 minutes. He gave us all a signed hat and took pictures with everyone. That was a memorable experience because Brad is from Michigan, too.
Q: Why is NASCAR your favorite sport?
A: There is never a dull moment! NASCAR has continuous action on and off the track during the races. It also hits all five senses. You can truly feel the cars as they speed by your seat and I love the sights and smells at the track during the races. Also, I can’t say enough about all of the drivers. Any time I’ve had the chance to meet one before a race, they couldn’t be any nicer. That makes me want to keep coming back.
Q: What do you remember most about your trips to the DAYTONA 500?
A: The first time I went to DAYTONA was in 1986 and I didn’t go back until 2015. I’ve been every year since 2015 though! I love the updates they made to the facility and it’s an even better place to watch a race than it was before. My recent trips to DAYTONA have been with PRIMESPORT and they have packages that get me into the garage area for guided tours and access to events throughout Speedweek where I can meet drivers. I really enjoyed meeting Denny Hamlin in 2018 when he spoke to our group inside the DAYTONA 500 Club. I have to be honest, I wasn’t a fan of his before I met him…but I am now!
Q: How many races have you been to?
A: Too many to count! I’ve seen a lot of races at Michigan International Raceway, but I’ve also seen races at Chicagoland, Phoenix, Homestead-Miami, Richmond, Martinsville, Talladega and of course DAYTONA.
Q: What are you most excited about for the 2019 DAYTONA 500?
A: This will be my 5th year in a row at the DAYTONA 500 and I can’t wait. I’m going back this year with PRIMESPORT and I am looking forward to the chance to listen to and meet Austin Dillon at their Thursday reception at the DAYTONA 500 Club. I got my picture with Denny Hamlin there last year, so hope to do that again this year.
But, I follow all of the Penske drivers and look forward to the garage tour to see their cars get ready for Sunday.
Do you want to elevate your race day experience? Visit PRIMESPORT.com/NASCAR to search for and secure your VIP travel package at the biggest races of the 2019 season, including the upcoming DAYTONA 500! As the Official Ticket Exchange and Travel Provider of Daytona International Speedway, PRIMESPORT has the race day access you’ve been searching for.