Despite recently turning 34, Justin Brayton isn’t ready to walk away from the sport just yet. Following his second podium in the last three rounds in Indianapolis on Saturday, Brayton said he’ll probably commit to another two years of racing and then go from there.
“Going into this year, I didn’t really know,” Brayton said. “All my contracts were up at the end of this year and I was kind of like, if I’m enjoying it, I’m going to keep going. If not, then we’ll just see what happens. But as of now, I don’t really see an end in sight. I think I’ll probably commit to another two years and go from there. I really think I can be competitive and keep doing what I’m doing.”
Brayton is in the midst of a career-year in his second season with Smartop/Bullfrog Spas/MotoConcepts Honda. Including his Daytona win, a career first, Brayton has five top-five finishes on the season, including four straight, and is currently third in points. On Saturday, he said if he’s still enjoying racing, he wants to continue.
“I think as long as I’m motivated to do well, I think that’s the biggest thing. If I come in and I’m dreading the flights and I’m dreading the training…. I really know what it takes to be at the highest level, and if I’m just not willing to put in that work, where right now I’m honestly having more fun than I’ve ever had, just because I have so much fun with my family at home during the week. I can kind of get away from the scene, if you will, and kind of get away from the training. I’ll just fit in training during the week when I can, in between my daughter’s swim lessons and taking her to school and that type of stuff.”
Brayton said that he’s found a great balance between his home life and racing, which has really invigorated him to continue racing.
“I think the biggest thing is, even before the main event, I’m just kind of like, I just ride a lot more free and I’m not stressed out,” he said. “I’m not so anxious. I think I’ve rode probably 80 percent to my capabilities my whole career, mainly because I’ve always been nervous or anxious. I’ve kind of been a shell of myself. Now, kind of, the pressure is off. It doesn’t really change my life one way or the other.”
How well defined is Brayton's life/work balance? He says that even though his Daytona win was a "life-changer," he realized even that didn't really change things on the home front. That takes a lot of pressure off.
“To be quite honest, Daytona is kind of a life-changer, but I’ve said this whole year, either way it doesn’t matter. My daughter really doesn’t care how well I do, or my wife doesn’t like me any more if I go get a podium. And that’s a good spot to be, because my whole life has been based on this number. That number that you get on the weekend, whether it’s third or tenth or first or whatever. If it’s not good, if it’s a tenth, it carries into your whole week and you’re bummed, and your phone never rings. Then you win and your phone rings off the hook, or you get third. I just have balanced that out really well.”