Unbuckled: Jimmy Linardy

Thursday, February 28 2013 @ 08:25 AM EST

Contributed by: ACT Staff

Jimmy Linardy
What are your favorite hobbies in the off-season?
I work a lot of hours in the off season, about 18-20 hours a day in my business. That doesn’t leave me much time for hobbies, unfortunately!

What do you do for work?
I am a heavy duty truck and diesel mechanic and a tow truck driver. I own a truck garage called Jim’s Heavy Duty Service. We aren’t the biggest shop in Boston but we are the busiest. 

What is your biggest life accomplishment?
Being the owner/operator of my own business. I’ve been self employed since 1987 and I’m still doing it. Been doing the same work I do now since 1979, so I’m pretty proud of that.

Big Plans for 2013?
Full time ACT Tour. 

What is the state of your car currently?
I have a brand new car being built by Distance Racing. I actually just talked to my crew chief and as of today it is 7-10 days from being done and then I have to put it together. I still have the old car, I’m going to take some suspension out of that and put it in this one. 

What race are you looking forward to the most in 2013?
Probably the International 500 at Airborne. It’s a new race, and I seem to run pretty well at Airborne. My car seems to come alive in the last 30-40 laps of the longer races, so I like the increased laps. I haven’t gotten the finishes I’ve wanted in the past, but some of that has been bad luck. In the Airborne finale last year I had a pebble get caught in my power steering belt, and I struggled with the handling so much I ended up turning myself with about 15 laps to go. But the car was really coming to life; I just didn’t get the finish I wanted. But I like the longer races and I like Airborne. All we can do is come back and try again.

What was the highlight of the 2012 season for you?
Going to Loudon for sure. The first two Invitationals I came as a spectator, then I was an alternate driver, and then the last year I actually got to race it. I love the speed, it’s just awesome.

Do you have a hero? Someone you idolize as a racecar driver or try to emulate?
One of them is a guy named “Nasty Neil,” and a guy named Paul Richardson who drove for Neil years ago. Paul Richardson raced on the old ACT Tour. Nasty Neil is one of my heroes because he was a car owner who had many successful drivers, and Richardson is because he drove a lot of different kinds of cars and won in all them. He’s a driver’s driver, a real good guy. 

Who is your biggest fan at the track?
Probably my wife and daughter. They make most of the races, except the Canadian ones. They are great moral support for me. 

What is something about you that most people don’t know?
Maybe that I’m one of the best tow truck drivers around? I grew up in the business, my Dad had a gas station in Harvard Square with tow trucks. He was born in VT, actually, grew up in Rutland and moved to the Boston area as an early teen. That’s when he met my mother. They lived in a triple decker, one upstairs from the other right here in Somerville.

How did you start racing? I grew up in the Boston area, and my dad had friends that use to race at the old Norwood drag strip. I went there as a kid. When I got my license, I was working and driving a tow truck. By the time I was 23 or 24 I was self-employed, and I bought my first house when I was 25. Then I started racing, and “Nasty Neil” worked at a parts store. My dad knew him from the 60s. In the early to mid-nineties I started working on “Nasty” Neil’s Pro Stock that AJ Begin raced on the tour, and a car driven by Paul Richardson. I started driving a Road Runner car at Lee in 2000, and started driving a Late Model in ‘06. 

Tell me about your family?
When I first got the car my wife was like you bought a WHAT?! But she told me if it was what I wanted to do she would support me. My dad was into racing before I was born, and they both still attend some of my races. They have been big supporters.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 
I’m kind of on the fence, but I will probably be switching over to being a car owner and having a young kid driving, or working with somebody else’s team. I find it tough time wise for me to get ready all the time, I’m such a busy person. Be involved one way or the other. I might still be driving then, but a car owner or crew member would be fun, I think.