CrossFitDevour Partners With Darlington Raceway for Unique NASCAR-Themed Event

September 12, 2022 by
Photo Credit: Olivia Black Photography
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The NASCAR Cup Series playoffs began on Sunday, September 4, with the Cook Out Southern 500. Hours prior to the race, a group of CrossFitters headed out onto Darlington Raceway and took part in a unique workout to raise money for the Wounded Warrior Project.

The details: NASCAR’s Group Sales Team reached out to CrossFitDevour co-owners Arence Gowe and Ashley Brown back in June to set up a special event at the 1.366-mile track. The goal was to raise money for a charitable foundation in a unique way while providing access to one of the biggest races on the schedule. 

  •  CrossFitDevour and NASCAR sold tickets, which cost $45 each. Each one included a parking pass at the South Carolina track, access to the workout, and a seat in the stands to watch the race. Each ticket also included a $5 donation to the Wounded Warrior Project. 
  • This was a NASCAR-themed workout, so it needed a fitting name. Gowe went with Dale Pain-hardt, which referenced seven-time NASCAR champion, Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt. 
  • The participants started with one lap around the 1.366-mile track. They then had to complete 100 thrusters (med ball or torpedo), 100 jumping jacks, 100 burpees over a partner, 100 lunges (med ball or torpedo), 100 push-ups, and one more lap around the track.

“I didn’t want to have people do a normal bodyweight workout that they could have done at home,” Gowe explained. “I wanted it to be something different, something that they would, at the end of it, feel like they have gotten a good workout. But also something that they wouldn’t have programmed.”

Gowe and Brown brought 25 people out for the event, but the group expanded to 26 when Kaulig Racing President Chris Rice jogged by and saw the workout taking place. He jumped in and finished off the unique workout that included two trips around a track that has hosted 198 races across the top three series. There were also some supporters on hand that cheered on the participants.

  • “I specifically – in a sneaky CrossFit way – just put one lap as opposed to putting the distance,” Gowe added. “So going around that track, you get past the first turn and then once you get towards that second turn, that’s when you realize that this is more than a mile.” 
  • “You also have the angle, the angle to the track that makes a little bit of a difference. … But it seems like people seemed to enjoy just the challenge and the difference in how you have to run.”

Rice, who is an avid CrossFitter, was a late addition to the workout. However, he is ready to contribute in a bigger way in the future. He volunteered Kaulig Racing to sponsor CrossFitDevour’s next fitness event to help raise awareness. 

Fun fact: The Southern 500 is one of NASCAR’s three active Crown Jewel races along with the Daytona 500 and the Coca-Cola 600. The first iteration took place in 1950, the second season of the Cup Series, and it has grown to become one of the most prestigious events on the calendar. The 2022 iteration featured a sold-out crowd of roughly 47,000 fans. 

A new tradition: The CrossFitDevour-hosted event at Darlington Raceway was actually the third during the 2022 season. The inaugural event took place at the .75-mile Richmond Raceway (Virginia) on April 3. DBG CrossFit was in charge of this workout which featured 100 participants and donations to the NAVY Seal Foundation. 

  • The second event took place at Daytona International Speedway ahead of the Coke Zero Sugar 400, the regular-season finale race. 89 people were on hand for this event in Florida. 
  • There are plans for two more events in 2022. One will take place at Talladega Superspeedway (Alabama) ahead of a playoff race on October 2. Another will be at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Florida) before a playoff race on October 23. 

A story to tell: Raising money for charitable foundations while enjoying a grueling workout is an integral part of the CrossFit experience. Community members have done so hundreds of times around the world. However, not many can say that they did burpees and thrusters on an actual race track hours before 36 drivers battled for a playoff win.

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