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Giselle Zarur: The first Hispanic female pit reporter for the Daytona 500

Giselle Zarur has never seen Daytona International Speedway in person until this weekend, but her first footsteps on the hallowed grounds will be historic ones.

When FOX Deportes fires up the airwaves for Sunday’s Daytona 500 broadcast, Zarur will become the first Hispanic female pit reporter to cover NASCAR’s most prestigious event.

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“I feel super honored and humbled for these moments because as a Latino woman, I feel proud about it, of course, but I work to be here and I want to make sure I’m not the only Latino woman to do it,” Zarur told NASCAR.com. “I feel a responsibility to embrace more women to follow their dreams no matter where they are or what they want to do. For me, there’s no limits.”

Zarur’s dream to cover sports started at a young age.

Beginning with her middle school and high school days, Zarur began following sports because her brother was a big fan of soccer. The emotions that were brought out of her brother when he watched enticed her to follow along with him, learning how sports bring out passionate feelings.

After realizing the essence of sport, Zarur began following soccer and other forms of athletics. She combined the new fandom with her desire to begin a broadcast journalism career by studying communications during her collegiate years.

The sports journalism path brought her closer to the competition than she could have ever imagined – launching her career at Televisa Deportes in 2010. During that span, she served as a reporter for Mexico’s soccer league Liga MX, tennis, Formula E, WRC and NASCAR Mexico. She also covered Formula 1 for Canal F1 Latinoamérica, the organization’s official network in Latin America.

“The best way to be connected to sports — because I’m not an athlete and I didn’t practice sports and I loved them as a fan — but a good way to be closer to sports was doing sports journalism,” Zarur said. “I started that way, looking for jobs in journalism always in sports. That’s the way the story began.”

Prior to her NASCAR endeavors, the Mexico City native transformed into a seasoned Formula One reporter, covering the likes of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso. Zarur has also interviewed some of the world’s top athletes in other realms, including Usain Bolt, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Mo Farah, Lorena Ochoa, Michael Phelps and Ana Ivanovic.

Zarur is currently an on-air talent for FOX Deportes’ top properties, including Liga MX, NFL and NASCAR. While she’s no stranger to iconic events that previous journalistic responsibilities allowed her to showcase her talents, she is well-versed in why the high banks of Daytona are so meaningful to so many.

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“I think Daytona is special,” Zarur said. “I’ve never been there, so it’s my first time going to that race. There’s a lot of emotions together. It’ll be my first time doing pits for NASCAR, my first time going to Daytona, my first time of everything. I’m excited. I can’t wait to see that monster of a track.”

While breaking another barrier to make history is another highlight to her storied career, what’s even more important is the impact she hopes to make for other women who have the same career aspirations. The messages of support from other women on social media also drive her top-notch work ethic in the process.

“I do this because I love it,” Zarur said. “This is my passion. Every time I go to work, I don’t see it as work. I’m just having fun because I love to do it. So, when I read all these things, it makes conscious of the responsibility of each one of my words and each one of my interviews … my word has to be an example for them because if they’re getting inspired by this, I want them to feel motivated, to see that they can do it and to embrace them to follow all the dreams and their goals.”

Zarur also had the chance to cover the Busch Light Clash at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum, which put NASCAR in the heart of Los Angeles. After taking in the event, she hopes NASCAR continues to push their limits and think about growth on an international stage.

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“It will only help the sport – to make it bigger and to go worldwide,” Zarur said. “It’s opening up different doors and different opportunities for people to see the sport and see how amazing it is. There’s a lot of space to grow for NASCAR.”

When Zarur grabs the microphone on Sunday, she wants to represent and empower women of other nationalities – displaying that those same steps she is set to take on pit road in NASCAR’s most iconic stage will leave a trail of possibility for the next generation.

“There’s someone on the other side that is watching you, so I think I learn also from them,” Zarur said. “I learn because the way they are interested, it reminds me of how I started with it – with this emotion and doing everything with all my heart.

“For me, it’s not that I inspire them, but they inspire me to be better every day.”