Grueling WODs Keep NASCAR Race Director Jusan Hamilton Calm on Race Day
NASCAR race director Jusan Hamilton is no stranger to competition. After all, he grew up playing a large variety of sports, and he continued while in college. Now he competes to get stronger both physically and mentally while taking on CrossFit workouts, the more grueling the better.
Hamilton played linebacker in college and transitioned from a sprinter to a thrower on the track team, so strength work was a prominent part of his training schedule. He had several heavy lifting days each week. Once he graduated from college and left his training schedule behind to enter the business world, he realized that he needed a new challenge that would keep him passionate about training while building upon his athletic foundation.
“I’d kind of reached a point where I didn’t want to lose all that work that I put in during college, but also still wanted to have that commitment and that work ethic carried into my adult life,” Hamilton said. “CrossFit was really the avenue for me to do that.”
Late in 2015, Hamilton embarked upon his CrossFit voyage. He started out at CrossFit Port Orange in Florida before moving over to CrossFit 386, which has a more competitive focus. He has stuck with CrossFit ever since and embraced an environment where he can test himself while doing Mayhem programming and prepare for an intense weekend at the race track.
- “I’ll be honest, I do love doing Murph every year just because it is running, but it’s just so grueling and you have to really grind it out. Hidalgo is another one that I really have enjoyed doing over the years. Again, it’s another workout where you just have to grind and just keep working.”
- On the flip side, Hamilton loves to hate Fran because of the mental focus required and the many ways where the workout can go wrong. Though he still has a PR of 3:16.
Working as a race director is one of the most stressful jobs in NASCAR. Hamilton is in charge of penalizing drivers and teams, determining when to throw a caution flag, and sending the track crews out into traffic to remove debris and fluids left behind by wrecks. He has hundreds of decisions to make over the course of a race while managing the field of 36-40 cars, but he balances everything by leaning on his training.
- “One of the things I’ve learned through CrossFit is the best way to tackle those challenging workouts – even when they get tough and your heart rate is up – stay calm, stay focused. And it’s really the same thing no matter how many different things are being thrown at me as a race director.”
- “That training that I have during the week and leading up to the events, not just in preparation for the facilities themselves that we race at like Circuit of the Americas, but the training that I have for myself – mentally and physically – that’s what keeps me in the game.”
Hamilton is on the road the majority of the year while working as a race director. His 2022 schedule alone includes calling 55 races in more than two dozen locations, but he doesn’t let his focus wane. He trains three days a week in Port Orange, and then he uses Thursday for travel and a ROMWOD session. Hamilton uses his Friday to drop in at various CrossFit boxes and spend more time with the community that he loves.
Pursuing improved health and mental toughness is one of the reasons why Hamilton maintains this schedule during the grueling season. Another is that he remains focused on the next generation. He and his wife, who works as a physical therapist, both want to instill some positive values in their daughters.
- “It sets a good example for our daughters to – just in terms of as they grow up – they are growing up seeing us both going to the gym and seeing the toughness that their mother has, as I have, as we’re training. That just translates over to them as well.”