About Kate Dillon

Kate Dillon is a multi-passionate entrepreneur. On her blog and YouTube channel, Kate shares tools, tips, and strategies she’s learned on her entrepreneurial journey. She also shares about her hobbies and lifestyle.

Kate Dillon at the computer
Kate Dillon at the computer

Kate’s current projects include:

  • CEO and founder at Crateinsider.com where she provides tech articles, videos, and race car parts for a segment of the auto racing industry.
  • Hickory Shows is Kate’s latest collection of projects. Partnered with her brother, Jimmy, the duo are producing a number of consumer trade show events. They all take place at the Hickory Metro Convention Center in Hickory, NC. These include the following shows:
  • Racelogic.vip – In partnership with founder Brian Littleton, Kate attends each of the chassis schools. She films and edits the classes, manages the website, and prepares the online versions.
  • Racing Insiders Podcast – On this podcast, Kate and co-host Jimmy Schiltz connect with leaders in the racing industry.
  • CARS Racing Show – This racing trade show was originally started by Kate’s Dad, brother, and a partner. After a hiatus of several years, Kate and her brother, Jimmy Schiltz brought it back in 2020 when the main racing industry show was cancelled. They look forward to producing the 5th annual show in January of 2025.
  • Racing Rewind – This YouTube channel is a pet project. Kate digitizes old video tapes of races from the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 2000s and then posts them to YouTube for everyone to see. Video tapes are submitted to Kate for the project and returned back to the owner after they are digitized.
  • Track N Recover – Trailers get stolen often and many are never recovered. After being approached by a contact in the racing industry, Kate worked with GPS tracker manufacturers for the Track N Recover brand. The tracker is the most advanced in the industry.

Kate Dillon’s Story

I grew up in racing. My dad was a racecar driver. But I was a girl. So I wasn’t super drawn to the racing industry. Or at least I didn’t think I was.

Architecture and Design Career

After several years working in sales and in the restaurant industry, I went to college and got a degree in Interior Design. I worked in Commercial Architecture and Design for several years. But, one day, my dad and my brother called me.

Back in the architecture and design days

Racing Trade Show

My family had a racing trade show. And they asked for my help. I packed my bags and moved from Idaho to North Carolina.

Because no matter what job I do, or what my job title is, I always end up in sales and marketing. So I landed back in North Carolina, and I just figured it was going to be like a sales or marketing job.

But then something happened. I went to a dyno test. And keep in mind, I had been away from racing for many years. But that moment, when that engine started up… for me, it was like the smell of grandma’s apple pie. That sound rang in my ears. And my thought was “Honey, I’m home.”

Crate Insider

And it has been ON ever since. When the trade show ended, I had an idea about having a website for racers with crate engines. I worked with a couple of partners, because I certainly didn’t have the expert tech knowledge. Now, none of us knew how to do a website. I just figured, “hey, It can’t be that hard, right? I mean, you just hire a web guy. And he or she builds website and boom, there you go.”

Well, it wasn’t that simple. The web guy fired me halfway through the project. Maybe I was too demanding. Or maybe it’s because his wife saw me and was all jealous and didn’t want him working with me. Yeah, that happened. But regardless, halfway through the project, I was left with an unfinished website and I had a choice.

Do I figure it out? I couldn’t afford to hire anyone else.
Or do I quit?

Well, I decided to suck it up, figure it out and make it work. And that is exactly what I did.

Building Online Stores

Well, within six months. other businesses, other manufacturers were looking at my website and asking me questions about websites. And I gave them my recommendations. But one of those companies asked, “Well, can you just do it for us?” And that’s when I started building online stores for other businesses.

YouTube and Video Creation

Once I had my own website, I became obsessed with digital marketing. I started attending conferences and absorbing every tip I could.

In 2016, I was at the Internet Summit Conference and one stat really stuck with me. One of the speakers stated that 69% of internet traffic would be video by the end of 2017. This was a huge eye opener for me.

We had a YouTube channel for Crate Insider, but we just posted videos every once in awhile. It was time to get more serious. I tried really hard to get one of the guys to appear on camera, but no one would do it. I was afraid to do it myself. After all, I was just a nobody- an overweight, middle-aged woman in the racing industry and I was terrified that people would make fun of me.

But, I REALLY wanted video. I knew it would be the thing that would set us apart in the racing industry and on the internet. So, I fought through the fear and started creating and posting tech videos shot on my iPhone in my makeshift video studio in my living room.

The next trend was live video. Once again, I was scared, but I did it anyway. Started in January of 2018, Top 5 Tuesday aired every single Tuesday at 2pm eastern on Crate Insider’s Facebook page. Later, the Racing Insider’s Podcast took over and Top 5 Tuesday phased out in 2022.

Currently, the newest trend is short form video, so we are experimenting with reels/shorts/TikTok.

Kate Dillon YouTube Channel

Video is a slippery slope. Once you get started, one thing naturally leads to another and can become an obsession. I started with a phone. Then I needed to learn to edit. And I needed gear– a tripod….and a better microphone….and a background….and lighting….and then eventually, better cameras, better microphones, and the list goes on.

I’ve learned a lot and picked up quite a bit of gear over the years. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of gear junkie.

Learning is an everyday passion of mine and that spills over into my desire to share that info with others. On my YouTube channel and on the blog, you’ll see lots of reviews and tutorials of the gear and software I’ve discovered along my journey.

Being an entrepreneur and innovator isn’t always easy. But, it brings me joy to encourage others by sharing some of the experiences I’ve had growing my business.

I invite you to subscribe to my YouTube channel.

Kate Dillon YouTube Channel
Subscribe to my YouTube channel

Racing Insiders Podcast

Doesn’t everyone have a podcast now? Can you call yourself a marketer if you don’t?

I’ve been a podcast fan for many years–ever since I got an iPod back in 2006. My subscriptions have changed as my interests have evolved, but I’ve enjoyed driving down the road listening to my favorite creators.

One day I was inspired by the idea of telling stories in the racing industry. I already shoot videos with a lot of the manufacturers I work with, but I keep my videos pretty short and to the point. My videos are usually more product or tech focused rather than being a place for longer storytelling.

I didn’t know anything about recording audio, so I reached out to my racing announcer friend, Wesley Outland. We decided on a trade of information. I helped him start his website and he helped me pick out gear to record a podcast.

That was the start of the podcast, but I wasn’t very consistent. At least until April 2020. During the lockdown of the pandemic, one of the three people I had personal contact with was my longtime business partner, engine builder Steve Hendren. My back patio became the everyday hangout spot after work. We ran out of things to talk about, so one day we turned on Facebook live and started talking to our audience.

These chats became a weekly occurrence from 2020 through most of 2023.

But, things change and evolve.

The podcast is now co-hosted by Kate and her brother, Jimmy.

Racelogic Chassis School

One of the tech videos that really set me apart in the racing industry was one I did about fire suppression. Because of this, I became connected with the Racelogic Chassis School. For a few years in a row, I would go to the yearly event and speak to racers about the topic. That is how I met the founder, Brian Littleton.

In late 2019, Brian opened registration for his January class and it sold out in 36 hours. That’s when the idea came up about filming the class and posting it online. I’d never filmed anything like that–especially for hours and hours at a time. But, I immediately said yes.

Selling courses online is a bit different than selling physical products or having a blog. I filmed the course and set up the new website racelogic.vip. We didn’t know if it would be popular or sell, but we took the chance.

It was a resounding success! Having the class online was perfect for people who couldn’t make the trip. And there is so much information presented by top experts in the racing industry that it is difficult to take it all in. For the racers who attended in person, the online version allowed them to replay anything they missed and watch it over and over.

After the success of 2020, we filmed all of the classes since.

Filming a class like this really stretched my knowledge and added to my experience with both audio and video. It has been a welcome challenge and I’ve loved the process.

R-town Retreat AirBnb

I love traveling, I love the racing industry, and I love being entrepreneur. But, there is one thing I really don’t like–noisy neighbors.

During my travels, I’ve had the chance to stay in a couple of AirBnb properties and I really enjoyed the experience. It inspired me to pursue having my own.

I live in a townhouse. When my noisy neighbor moved out in January of 2020, I talked with the property owner about renting the unit and turning it into a short term rental. He wasn’t sure about the idea at first, but after thinking it over, he allowed me to rent the unit and turn it into R-town Retreat (short for Rutherfordton Retreat).

Of course, I had no idea that there would be a pandemic and lockdowns, but surprisingly, the property has done well here in our small town.

I really love being an AirBnb host. This area of North Carolina is beautiful and I love the ability to be able to offer a special experience to my guests.

CARS Racing Show

We all know that 2020 was one heck of a year. When the biggest racing trade show of the year was cancelled, there was a giant hole in our industry.

Many of the companies in the racing industry are small businesses. The loss would be profound.

A few people came to me with the idea that I should put together a smaller, regional show as my family had done before that could be done safely. I was hesitant since I knew how much work would be involved and that we wouldn’t have a lot of time to do it. I never thought I would organize a trade show again.

But, I have a great brother. Jimmy Schiltz is the owner of Dirtwrap where he creates wraps for race cars. We partnered together, worked hard, and made it happen. The CARS Racing Show was a success for all involved. Check out the CARS Racing Show blog to see some of the interviews from the show.

Due to all of the obstacles, this was the greatest risk I’ve ever taken as a business owner. I’m grateful that it all ended up turning out so well.

We didn’t know if this would be a one-off project or if we would continue, but the feedback was great, so we did it again in 2022, 2023, and 2024. We are currently organizing the 2025 show.

Track N Recover

In 2021, a contact in the racing industry came to me with a product – a GPS tracker with no wires, no monthly fees, and the size of a credit card. It’s the only tracker on the market that uses both cell phone towers and satellites.

Unfortunately, in the racing community, trailers are stolen quite often. So are 4-wheelers and other equipment. Track N Recover devices are perfect for this use!

While the original plan was to partner together, my friend had a health event and decided to retire. I’ve taken on the branding and marketing for this incredible device.

Hickory Shows

One thing about the CARS Racing Show is that the show always looks professional and amazing. Because of that, the Hickory Metro Convention Center asked us if we’d ever thought about organizing a Christmas Show or a Home Show. Those are the most requested shows from the public.

My brother floated the idea to me in 2021 and I said no, absolutely not. I just had too much to manage at the time. A year later, I said, why not? Let’s give it a try. Our first venture was the Hickory Christmas Show. To research, we took a trip to Europe to see the setups for their Christmas markets. You can see more about my Europe trip in this post.

Our first Christmas Show occurred in December 2023. It was the most attended show in the history of the convention center. The success of this show has led us to developing other shows including an indoor craft show, a women’s expo, a wedding expo, and a home show.

Next Projects

One thing I love about the shows is the opportunity to connect with the community and use the platform to help people who are less fortunate. We were able to add a charitable component to the Christmas show and plan to add charitable items to other shows moving forward. As a result, we plan to create a non-profit entity to handle the financial aspects of this.

I never know what opportunity will be around the next corner, but I like staying open to the possibilities. Not everything I’ve tried has become a glowing success, but it’s just part of the entrepreneurial process.

In this season of my life, work is just part of my lifestyle, so I don’t take a whole lot of time off. But, when I am taking a break, you may find me quilting, kayaking on a flat lake, reading business books, playing games on my phone (I’m seriously addicted), traveling, or enjoying a Bloody Mary.

If you have a project in mind, feel free to send me an email.