Jusan Hamilton ’13


Growing up in Central New York, Jusan Hamilton was raised around sports and competition, playing a variety of youth sports which developed a strong work ethic and persistence to face any challenge. One sport stood out over the rest and would guide Jusan’s future to this day. While motorsports was not the most mainstream pass time in New York, Jusan’s first experience at a racetrack captivated him at the age of four and quickly became his favorite sport. From that point on, auto racing grew to be a weekly family commitment for Jusan. He and his family spent days at the local racetracks with Hamilton competing all the way from Go-Karts to full-size race cars. It was those trials and tribulations trying to grow as a young racer in a sport that at the time was seen as less than inclusive that sparked a passion that still drives him today. 


As a teenager, Jusan’s goal was to become a champion racecar driver at the highest levels of NASCAR. Though his goal to become a driver would later change when he committed to pursuing his college degrees, his passion for NASCAR never waned. Instead, this passion became a motivating factor through college to be successful student and into adulthood building his career 


In 2022, at the age of 31, Jusan became the youngest person to serve as Race Director, and the first Black Race Director in the history of NASCAR's most prestigious race, the Dayton 500. He is now the Managing Director of Competition Operations for NASCAR and in charge of all Race Directors, NASCAR tower staff and operations at all 38 NASCAR Cup Series events.   


"I was lucky enough to be able to find the pathway and to be able to contribute on the business side of motorsports in NASCAR while pursuing my degrees at IC. In the end this pathway has been equally as rewarding and given me as great of an opportunity as I could have hoped for in racing, and to use racing to make a positive difference in the lives of others,” said Jusan in a recent interview with FOX Sports. 

In his short career, Jusan has had several barrier-breaking moments which set historical milestones in the growth of NASCAR. In 2017, Hamilton took command of the race control tower for a NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana California for the first time becoming the youngest and the first black Race Director in NASCAR dating back to 1948. In 2018 Hamilton became the first Black Race Director in NASCAR Cup Series History at Pocono Raceway, in Long Pond Pennsylvania.


"To be the first just means that things are going in the right direction for NASCAR as a whole," Jusan said in an interview with NBC Sports. "The sport's more open and accessible to a wider demographic to come to a track, experience a race for themselves as fan, live the same thrill that I did as a kid sparking my passion, and in the end, join a similar journey to success within the NASCAR industry." 


In addition to Jusan’s position in the tower at NASCAR venues across North America. He is also in charge of NASCAR’s Diverse Driver Development initiative. Leading this program, Jusan has used his knowledge of being a racecar driver to locate, recruit, and develop current drivers on a pathway to the NASCAR Cup Series. Drivers such as Rajah Caruth from Washington D.C., Nick Sanchez from Miami, Florida and Lavar Scott, from Carneys Point New Jersey all found themselves in similar situations to Jusan as young racers with a passion for NASCAR, but lacking a clear pathway and access to reach the professional ranks. Using innovative tools such as the iRacing Simulation platform, combined evaluations, and a pointed driver development pipeline Jusan has led this program to produce results that bridged the same gap Jusan dreamed of traversing himself to stardom in NASCAR.  


As a dual degree Alumnus with a Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Hamilton credits his time at Ithaca College as a major foundation for his success the first 11 years of his career at NASCAR. Now residing in Port Orange, Florida he is happily married to fellow Ithaca College alumna Charis (Tse) Hamilton DPT, Graduate Class of 2015. Charis Hamilton, who owns her own business (MaternalFit Pelvic Physical Therapy) has been at Jusan’s side as his biggest supporter on his journey towards his history-making career since they met at Ithaca College 13 years ago. They are now joined by their three daughters Weslyn, Reila, and Jaycie 


“As a family, we are fortunate to have the life we do as a result of one critical moment in my childhood at a racetrack. It is my goal to continue to use that moment and that passion for success to set a positive example for my daughters and create avenues for others to enjoy motorsports the same way I have.”