Fox pit reporter Sims an emblem of NASCAR’s range objectives

Fox pit reporter Sims an emblem of NASCAR’s range objectives
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — When Josh Sims stories on NASCAR this season, the inventory automobile sequence as of late — from the storage to the grandstands to prime brass — appears extra like him.

Sure, Sims takes pleasure in the truth that he’ll grow to be the primary Black pit reporter for the Daytona 500 and that his speedy rise at Fox has made him one of many major faces of the community’s NASCAR protection.

Greater than that, Sims sees that NASCAR might lastly be operating out of unconquered firsts for individuals of coloration. For girls. For any minority who maybe has skilled an uneasy relationship with a sequence based within the South 75 years in the past, a era earlier than the civil rights period.

Sims’ journey from NASCAR novice by means of a sports activities anchor gig in Charlotte, North Carolina, that sparked his ardour within the sport had led to his largest task but: pit reporting as a Black man from one among auto racing’s signature occasions.

“I by no means got down to be a primary,” the 35-year-old Sims stated. “I by no means got down to make historical past. I simply wished to be the most effective at what I used to be doing, whether or not it was internet hosting or reporting. On the identical time, I sort of perceive the platform and what it means for me to be doing this.”

Sims has a full workload this season. He’s the Cup Sequence pit reporter, groups with Regan Smith as an Xfinity Sequence reporter and is a part of the host rotation for the FS1 present “Race Hub.”

And this season, he desires to share the tales on what he sees on the observe past the in-race stories and improbable finishes. Minorities might not essentially grow to be the dominant demographic for the sequence, however they will definitely seize a bigger share of {the marketplace}.

“I feel if extra individuals on the market noticed it, noticed folks that seemed them, as a substitute of simply driver, crew chief, you may be extra inclined to really feel like, hey, I really feel a little bit extra comfy going to the observe,” Sims stated. “Getting that on the market may assist when it comes to extra individuals coming to the observe and getting extra completely different faces to the stands. It’s not essentially about getting extra individuals in, it’s displaying what you have already got.”

It was, after all, a really low bar however the storage and grid and followers definitely seems to be extra numerous now than earlier than 2020 when NASCAR banned the Accomplice flag from its tracks and properties. NASCAR remains to be overwhelmingly white, however NASCAR President Steve Phelps isn’t exaggerating when he says you discover the change when strolling by means of the storage.

“I feel the occasions of 2020 allowed the game to get youthful and extra numerous,” he stated at his state-of-the sport handle in November.

Among the many notable achievements: Jusan Hamilton, who final 12 months grew to become the primary Black race director in Daytona 500 historical past, will do it once more this season. Amanda Oliver, a Black lady, negotiates high-profile offers as NASCAR’s senior vp. John Ferguson, a Black man, is the chief human assets officer.

House owners now embody Pitbull and Michael Jordan, whose workforce options Bubba Wallace, the Black driver who prompted the flag ban. Rising stars within the developmental sequence embody Rajah Caruth, a 20-year-old graduate of the “Drive for Variety” program.

Phelps stated NASCAR was dedicated to strengthening ties to numerous applications that may entice a broader fan base, from Boys & Women Golf equipment to “a number of the different areas we now have from a partnership standpoint that actually converse to what’s taking place within the African American neighborhood, what’s taking place within the Hispanic, Latino neighborhood (to) what’s taking place within the LGBTQ neighborhood.”

Whereas the regularly poisonous nature of social media makes it simpler for haters to succeed in Sims and others, he’s a well-liked character every weekend on the observe.

“I by no means essentially felt uncomfortable,” he stated. “You get stuff right here and there when it comes to messages that’s emailed to you or despatched to you however that’s par for the course in the event you’re a minority within the sport, a lady within the sport, even white drivers get stuff like that. However for each one or two of these, I get much more stuff from individuals excited that I’m right here. You recognize, deal with the great.”

Raised in East Brunswick, New Jersey, Sims is a Villanova graduate who adopted the Wildcats in NCAA Event video games in 2009 and remained a fan of most Philly groups.

“I grew up in Jersey, so not precisely NASCAR nation,” Sims stated. “Rising up, you recognize the Jimmies and the Dale Seniors and the Tony Stewarts and all people but it surely wasn’t one thing I adopted week in and week out.”

His curiosity in NASCAR picked up in 2015 when he moved to Charlotte and hosted a pre-race present on the native Fox affiliate. Sims lined his first Daytona 500 in 2016 when Denny Hamlin nipped Martin Truex Jr. within the closest end in race historical past.

“I used to be like, I’m all in,” Sims stated.

Charlotte can really feel like a small city for a metropolis and Sims saved bumping into pals and contacts in NASCAR. Fox Sports activities executives employed Sims in 2021 as a reporter for his or her slate of NASCAR reveals. He additionally grew to become the primary Black pit reporter in any NASCAR sequence, for Vans races.

“I sort of hope that younger folks that appear to be me, can see me doing it and now acknowledge that it’s doable,” Sims stated. “I hope I can sort of blaze a path for them to sooner or later say, hey, as a result of Josh Sims did it, I can do it, too. And that’s what’s vital.”


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