In 2019, Tampa Bay local Joe Raiti, former racecar driver turned high school History teacher, entered the realm of internet fame. His YouTube channel, Raiti’s Rides – which highlights all things cars – has just crossed the coveted 1 million subscriber mark and upwards of 375 million channel views in just over 5 years.
“Initially, I started the channel as a hobby so I could share my passion for cars with as many people as possible. With the channel at over 1 million subscribers, I still take the same approach of being an enthusiast first. My ultimate goal has always been to keep car passion alive.” says Joe Raiti. “Growing up in my old man’s mechanic shop here in Florida was what started it all. After college at UCF, I chased my childhood dream to become a professional race car driver and did so successfully for several adrenaline-filled years until the tech bubble burst in 2001.”
During Raiti’s racing career, he quickly jumped from class to class with certifications in Formula V, Formula Ford, and Formula Mazda, just two levels shy of IndyCar. He’s raced at legendary tracks all over North America including Daytona International Speedway, Sebring International Raceway, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen International, Road America, and Mosport International Raceway. “I think this experience is a key differentiator for me when reviewing cars and has helped me to build an online presence in Automotive Journalism that has taken other successful car reviewers at least 10 years to do,” continues Joe Raiti.
Raiti believes that his 18 years of teaching high school History also helps to engage his viewers. “After I stepped away from pro racing, I became a high school History teacher in Pasco County. I’m sure it will come as no surprise that keeping high school students engaged is not easy! I took all the successful techniques I learned in the classroom over the years and applied them to Raiti’s Rides on YouTube as well as our other social platforms. We’re not only on Instagram with over 140,000 followers, but we’re also on TikTok now with 410,000 subs and counting.”
Though a YouTube sensation, Raiti doesn’t consider himself a “YouTuber” but rather an Automotive Journalist. In his videos, he shares his excitement on new models while educating and delivering expert knowledge on the in’s and out’s of each vehicle he reviews. The best part of the gig? Raiti notes his favorite thing is getting the opportunity to test new cars on the race track – where he gets to channel his former racing days and the passion truly comes alive. And to top it off, he gets to do it all with his wife, who is his Production Manager and lead videographer. “My wife, Lori Raiti, is my secret weapon. Most people don’t realize that Lori’s background is in Media Communication and that she’s the one who planted the seed for me to start Raiti’s Rides in the first place.”
Raiti’s success is truly remarkable in the overcrowded Automotive sector on YouTube. In fact, many of Raiti’s peers who started their car review channels 10 years ago, admit that his success is unparalleled and not easily replicated. In fact, Internet entrepreneur Doug DeMuro, names Joe Raiti as being able to do the impossible in a recently uploaded interview here [mentioned at 59:53].
INTERVIEW WITH JOE RAITI
Why have your followers grown so drastically?
JR: I believe our tremendous growth is a result of a combination of my unique delivery, no nonsense approach and engaging live format. Plus, I like to have fun so you can always count on a few laughs in each of my videos as well. I’m known as a big foodie because I use Twinkies and other snack foods to describe storage compartment spaces. Everyone knows how big a Twinkie is so it makes things easy to understand and relatable. Now I have viewers tuning in to see what kind of food I’m going to talk about next!
Where do you see Raiti’s Rides in the next 5 years? Next 10 years?
JR: Global dominance. No, just kidding. We see Raiti’s Rides continuing to grow with more subscribers finding and rekindling their passion for cars. We don’t believe the bold proclamations that some make about Gen Z not being into cars. In fact, we see many of our Gen Z followers getting into Japanese cars, Mustangs and Korean cars as well. We also find more and more of our Millennial and older viewers appreciate our videos because they reignite the passion for cars that these older viewers once had. Watching Raiti’s Rides is like getting a bit of your childhood back.
Were there any celebrations once you hit 1 million subscribers?
JR: Yes! On May 7th, we held a 1 Million Subscriber Car Gathering and Celebration at Walker Ford in Clearwater, FL. Walker Ford has been a huge supporter of Raiti’s Rides from the beginning, starting all the way back when we hit 10,000 subscribers in 2018. We hosted giveaways, had free tacos, great music, a Twinkie eating competition and showcased cars of all makes and models. Each time we’ve hosted an event like this, the attendance keeps growing and growing. At the last event, a monster truck even showed up unannounced, it was amazing! For those who missed the car gathering or don’t live in the area, we’re hosting a virtual celebration on June 20th at 8pm ET where we’ll have several giveaways. To register, people can go to www.raitisrides.com and sign up for our email list. Names will be drawn randomly during the live event on YouTube.
RAITI’S RIDES: What started out as a creative outlet, later turned to a highly-viewed broadcast now known as Raiti’s Rides. Joe Raiti uses his platform as a way to educate, entertain and share car passion with as many people as possible. He is considered an expert in many different cars such as Corvettes, Porsches, Mustangs, Subarus, Hondas, and more. For full videos, visit Raiti’s Rides on YouTube.
EVOLVE & CO: Evolve & Co is a full-service advertising agency located in downtown St. Petersburg, Florida. The company is a collective of brand strategists and creatives, specializing in the lifestyle vertical. The firm is located at 475 Central Avenue Suite M7, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701. www.evolveandco.com
Editors: For details, or to schedule an interview contact Lisa Williams firstname.lastname@example.org or 727.490.9835.
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