Bob Dillner may be a 17-year veteran of motorsports broadcasting, but his passion for auto racing, in addition to just about every other sport, goes back to his upbringing on Long Island, New York. In the years between his first race as a spectator with his family and today, Dillner has become one of the most reputable motorsports broadcasters. But his time in the garage and on the road covering NASCAR’s highest levels only tells part of Dillner’s story.
Dillner’s career in motorsports was born out of a passion for the action at his local racetracks in Long Island and New England. The enjoyment of sitting in the grandstands with his family led him to want to get even closer to the racers and stories in the pit area, so he started writing feature stories and race recaps as a teenager – even before he was old enough to get into the tracks’ pit areas – for reputable Northeastern motorsports trade Paper, “Area Auto Racing News.” His print work received many accolades, but it was just the start of his career in the racing media.
In the early and mid-1990’s, Dillner turned his passion for auto racing into a television career that continues today. He founded “Long Island Trackside,” a weekly racing news magazine show that featured racing at Riverhead Raceway in New York and more tracks throughout the northeast. “Long Island Trackside” was one of the most popular programs on Long Island’s News 12 network and allowed Dillner even more time both in front of and behind the camera outside of the racing realm.
While working in New York, Dillner was able to spread his journalistic wings, covering noted news stories as the Amy Fisher/Joey Buttafuoco proceedings, in-depth coverage of New York senators on Capitol Hill, the Long Island Railroad massacre, the New York Yankees’ World Series victories in the early 1990’s, the U.S. Open Golf Championship and more. Dillner covered the New York sports scene, including the Giants and Jets in the National Football League, Yankees and Mets in the Major League Baseball, Knicks and Nets in the National Basketball Association and the Islanders, Devils and Rangers in the National Hockey League. Dillner was nominated for an Emmy award for his work on Long Island, as well.
His work on television in New York earned Dillner an opportunity of a lifetime and an opportunity that has shaped his present and future in the racing media. He began covering the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 1997, as well as the Indy Racing League, NHRA and other forms of motorsports. In fact, in 2000, he was tapped to be the face of the American Speed Association on TNN, a role that blossomed into Dillner’s position as a leading NASCAR reporter on SPEED and FOX Sports.
Dillner’s passion for short track racing that began as a youngster and continued in his days with the ASA National Tour on TNN. That, in addition to the increasing popularity of the Internet, led Dillner to found Speed51.com in 2001. 51 filled a void for short track racing news throughout the country at that time and continues to be the leading asphalt short track news source to this day.
When not in the garage at Daytona or in the booth at Loudon, Dillner can often be found working with numerous charities that are near and dear to his heart. He is actively involved with organizations such as Speedway Children’s Charities, Paralyzed Veterans of America, Drive for Autism, Motor Racing Outreach, Stand Up To Cancer and the JEGS Foundation.
He is also a regular participant on several racing shows across America, including Sirius XM Satellite Radio, Performance Racing Network, Motor Racing Network and NASCAR Home Tracks Radio.
While his professional passion has always been in motorsports, Dillner’s family life and his faith are paramount in his daily life. Dillner cherishes time spent both at the track and away from it with his wife Angie and four children in their North Carolina home or wherever their travels may bring them.
BD’s 51 Favorites
1. Vacation Spot – New England & Sonoma, CA
2. Store – Cabela’s
3. Bible Verse – 1 Corinthians 13 (chapter)
4. Car Owned – 1965 Chevrolet C10 Pickup Truck w/ 327 c.i. engine
5. Short Track – Islip Speedway (closed) Five Flags Speedway (current)
6. MLB Team – Boston Red Sox
7. NFL Team – New England Patriots
8. Restaurant – DiRaimo’s Pizzeria in Huntington, NY
9. Song on the Ipod – Watching You by Rodney Atkins
10. Television Show – House Hunters (my wife makes me watch it)
11. Movie – The Harry Potter series
12. Advice Ever Received – Lead as God would want you to lead from Pastor Jason Rains
13. Advice Ever Given – Treat Others as You Would Want to Be Treated (Golden Rule)
14. Drink – Orange Soda
15. Snack – Ring Dings
16. Smell – Anything my wife burns in the Scentsy
17. Childhood Memory – Camping in Herkimer, NY
18. Household Chore – Laundry
19. President – Ronald Reagan
20. State – Maine
21. Movie Seen in Theatre – Days of Thunder
22. Thing to do on a Day off – Cut the Grass
23. Broadcaster/Sports Announcer – Ken Squire
24. Breed of Dog – English Setter
25. Dream Car – 1967 Ford Mustang
26. Dream Truck – 1964 Ford F-100
27. Environmental Sound – Roaring Creek
28. Ice Cream – Vanilla w/ Chocolate Sprinkles (boring)
29. Moment as a Parent – Meghan Giving Commencement Speech at High School Graduation (but there are many)
30. City to Visit – Boston
31. National Sporting Event – Daytona 500
32. Summer Olympic Sport – Swimming
33. Winter Olympic Sport – Skeleton
34. Book – Let ‘Em All Go! By Chris Economaki
35. Way to Spend a Summer Evening – Go to the Ballpark w/ my Famly
36. Way to Spend a Winter Morning – Sledding w/ my kids (not often in NC)
37. Quote – “Hang on to memories, but live in the moment – we never know what’s going to happen down the road.” – Tony Dungy
38. Movie Line – “She likes me for my body.” Mater from Cars
39. Thing Kept in the Chest/Trunk – Richie Evans Memorobilia
40. Breakfast food – Ham, Egg & Cheese on a Poppy Seed Roll from a deli on Long Island
41. Season – Autumn
42. Room in the House – Bedroom
43. Holiday – Christmas
44. Road Trip Memory – My Brother and I attending our 1st Snowball Derby
45. Role Model – Tony Dungy
46. Leisure Activity – Fishing
47. NASCAR Paint Scheme – Donnie Allison Hawaiian Tropic #1
48. Hat – Denim Hat w/ Dale Earnhardt #3 that I wore as a camera man in the 90’s
49. Candy – Hershey’s Chocolate Bar
50. Cookie – Snickerdoodles
51. Number – 51!
What things in life give you the most joy?
Watching the kids excel at whatever it is they love to do, seeing a last-lap pass at a racetrack, the Red Sox and Patriots winning
and long-talks with my wife (she thinks I’m sappy)
What things in life make you angry?
People that pick on others for no reason and two-faced people
When you were a child or a teenager, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Racecar driver or a Forest Ranger
Special or silly talents/abilities you had growing up or still have?
I can make sounds like a trumpet playing with my mouth (makes some people laugh)
What do you dip a chicken nugget in?
What is your favorite genre of movies?
What was your worst job and why?
Cook at Burger King – got too many pimples and gained a little weight in the short time I worked there
If you could write-in one person for the President of the United States who would it be and why?
Mike Huckabee – has the smarts, morals and business-sense to know what this country needs.
Describe the worst vehicle you ever owned.
1984 – Olds Cutlass Four-Door with a 6-cylinder engine – only bought it cause it had low-low miles and was super cheap – no power and as ugly as can be
What was your favorite job during high school or college?
DJ for college radio statio
What was your favorite childhood toy?
Matchbox or Hot Wheels cars I repainted into the racecars I loved
What do you order at McDonalds?
Double Cheeseburger – no pickle, no mustard
If you had to go into the witness protection program what new name would give yourself?
Steve Evans – combination of one of my fav driver’s names and a great broadcater’s name
What do you do when you feel sad or depressed?
Get quiet, don’t eat and do housework
Did you ever have any nicknames growing up? What were they? Who have them to you?
Tiger – Dad
Dillner Cow – Kids in school because I drank so much milk
Dill Pickle – 4th grade class and Kenny Wallace
Bobby Stixx – College radio station gave it to me cause I was skinny & it sounded cool (at the time)
What was the most memorable event you ever attended?
The 1978 World Series with my Uncle Fred at the old Yankee Stadium
What’s the most serious injury you have ever had?
Concussion, but I’ve broken every finger (except thumbs) working on race cars and playing ball
What are your pet peeves?
Road rage and people that have power trips
What is your favorite vacation memory?
So many with the kids & Angie – but as a child it would be camping in Herkimer, NY
Who was your favorite teacher?
Bill Baird – New York Institute of Techonology – Journalism