I grew up racing karts on my family’s track, Adkins Raceway in Port Washington, Ohio, and my passion for the sport felt like second nature.
I loved racing and I was good at it too. During this time, though, there was another part of my life that I had to push down and put a mask on.
I was closeted and scared of my sexuality, but I kept going through life. I got married to a woman and had two children, Kinley and Cruz. My family’s move back to Cincinnati would be our last as a couple. I began to explore my sexuality and this caused the marriage to end.
I then moved to Charlotte where I met my future husband, Jamie Wince. We instantly hit it off and Jamie was there for me while I was going through my long and difficult divorce. In 2015, we moved back to Ohio to be closer to my children. We were able to work with my ex-wife and came up with a co-parenting situation that worked for us all.
Meanwhile, I continued in the racing industry. I helped Jamie learn everything and taught my children the ropes, passing the racing tradition on to the next generation of racers. I like to say that all motorsports starts with a foundation in kart racing.
In 2017, my father passed away. At that time, Jamie and I made sure the business continued and now we co-own and run the business.
Just as I have become my authentic self as a gay man, the way we run our business has changed too.
At first, we weren’t open in sharing that we were openly gay business owners. During Pride Month, we were afraid of the backlash or loss of business it might cause with posting information and pictures about Pride.
Now we are open and even boast a tie-dye profile picture on our social media. We are a LGBTQ+ certified business and open our arms to everyone, no matter how they identify.
This has come with some backlash. We can recall many instances of not being taken seriously at tracks because we were gay. We have been called derogatory names and lost customers just because we are gay and open about our sexual orientation.
In those situations, some people would have given up, but we keep pushing. Instead of doing business with people who don’t support us, we have found people who love working with us.
On our racing team, we have helped drivers build confidence in themselves with racing and with life in general. I know how important racing is and how it can be a lifeline for children, teens and adults alike.
To the young drivers on their teams, I see this as a gateway for kids not only to come out of their shells, but to be themselves. We know that being your true self can only help someone grow.
We also love being able to use racing to grow closer with Kinley and Cruz. The two kids race and are able to bond with Jamie and me like I did with my dad growing up.
Through my experiences on and off the track, Jamie and I want to coach the next generation of drivers. We want kids and their parents to know that there’s a spot on the track for anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, race or background. We like to spread a message of inclusivity, giving everyone a chance in a sport that’s historically been tailored to straight, white men.
Our goal with our business is for everyone to be themselves and find a passion in racing, without hiding and by being themselves.
Brandon Adkins is a retired factory driver who owns Adkins Raceway along with his husband, Jamie, in Port Washington, Ohio. They can be reached via email (email@example.com), their website, Instagram or Facebook (@adkins raceway).
Story editor: Jim Buzinski
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