The racing community has lost another incredible person. Bryan Clauson was immersed with talent, had no ego, and had an incredible passion for racing anything, anywhere, anytime. The Noblesville driver tragically passed away late Sunday night, after a crash the night before at the Belleville Nationals midget race in Kansas. The 27-year old driver was airlifted to Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, but did not survive.
Clauson was widely considered the nation’s top dirt-track driver, with four US Auto Club National Championships, and major wins in the Chili Bowl, Turkey Night Grand Prix, and Belleville Nationals. He won 112 feature races sanctioned by USAC, which ranks fifth on the all-time list. Clauson also won an ARCA race in 2007 at Gateway Motorsports Park, and earned a top-five finish in NASCAR’s Xfinity series at Kentucky Speedway. He earned Poles in Xfinity and Indy Lights, and qualified for the Indy 500 with two different engine manufacturers and three different teams.
Clauson was made of the same mold as racers like AJ Foyt, Tony Stewart, and Gary Bettenhausen. He was competing in his 116th race this year, on his way to the goal of 200 that he set at the beginning of the year. He won his 27th race in the midget race on Wednesday night in Beloit, Kansas. Mark Miles, CEO of IndyCar’s parent company Hulman and Co. released the following statement:
“This is certainly a sad day for the racing community as a whole, and on behalf of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we send our deepest condolences to the family of Bryan Clauson. Anybody who witnessed Bryan behind the wheel of a race car can attest to his elite ability, relentlessness and unbridled willingness to race anything on wheels. While he’ll be remembered most as a legend of short-track racing, his participation in the Indianapolis 500 exemplifies his fearlessness, true versatility as a competitor and the pure depth of his talent as a driver.”
Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles also offered his remarks:
“Bryan Clauson combined his passion and enthusiasm for grassroots racing with a God-given talent that made him the favorite to win every time he got in a midget or sprint car. And he proved on the world’s largest racing stage – by leading three laps in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 – that he could use that talent in just about anything with wheels. More importantly, he possessed a humility and character out of the race car that made him a person that fellow competitors and fans alike enjoyed being around. His spirit, his positive outlook and his thrilling talent will be missed by the entire racing community. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are with the Clauson family in this difficult time.”
Clauson is survived by his fiancée Lauren Stewart, his parents Tim and Di, and his sister Taylor. Funeral arrangements are pending. A memorial service is being planned at Indianapolis Motor Speedway with details coming.
In lieu of flowers, fans can send donations to the USAC Benevolent Fund website, or mail their contributions to the USAC Benevolent Foundation in the name of Bryan Clauson. The address is 124 E Northfield Drive, Suite F #129, Brownsburg, IN 46112.