Racing world loses Bryan Clauson

Photo courtesy of USACracing.com

Former NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Bryan Clauson has died after a harrowing crash that occurred at the USAC-sanctioned Belleville Midget Nationals in Kansas, where he made contact with a lapped after taking the lead in the race.
Clauson’s car went spinning into the wall between Turn 3 and Turn 4. It came to rest on its side just as another sprint car, driven by Ryan Greth, was coming into Turn 4 and slammed into the driver’s compartment, which sent both racecars spinning further down the track. It took safety workers nearly 30-minutes to cut Clauson free from his car and he was then rushed via helicopter to a nearby hospital. The family released statement that he was in critical condition and he succumbed to his injuries late Sunday night.
Statement from the family:
“Last night, the 7th of August, we said goodbye to our son, my fiancé, our friend, Bryan Clauson. He was surrounded by family and friends and we were grateful that we could experience his final moments with him.

“Our Bryan fought to the end with the same desire that he demonstrated behind the wheel of all the various race cars he would park in victory lane. However, we were more proud of our Bryan that took a moment to make a young fan’s day, or demonstrated his uncommon kindness and appreciation toward his friends, family and fans.
“We would like to thank everybody who has shown their concern toward us and kept us in their prayers. We will never be able to truly thank you. We would also like to thank the staff at Bryan Medical Center who stood and fought with our Bryan since he arrived here early yesterday morning.”
In lieu of flowers, or to make a donation, people may direct contributions to the USAC Benevolent Fund or checks should be made out to the USAC Benevolent Foundation in the name of Bryan Clauson. The address is 124 E Northfield Drive, Suite F #129, Brownsburg, IN 46112.

Thank you for being a part of our Bryan’s life.
Lauren, Tim, Di, and Taylor

Clauson called Noblesville, Ind. home but he was originally from Sacramento, Ca. He once raced for Tony Stewart Racing and made three starts in the Indy 500. His best finish in the famed race came this year, where he led the 100th lap of the 100th running of the event.
His Xfinity Series career included 26 starts with one pole, one Top 5 and two Top 10 finishes. He made three attempts in the Cup Series for Felix Sabates in 2008 but failed to qualify for the events. His short stint in the ARCA Series resulted in one win, four Top 5 and four Top 10 finishes along with one pole position.
“It is with extreme sadness that we must accept this devastating news,” said USAC CEO Kevin Miller, in a statement from the organization. “This is truly one of the darkest days in the 60-year history of the United States Auto Club. Not only have we lost one of our greatest USAC champions, we’ve lost a true ambassador for all of motor sports. Bryan’s passion for our sport was unparalleled. He was a leader not only on the track, but in the pits with his fellow competitors. There is a tremendous hole in the hearts of our community today as we grieve his loss along with his family and friends.”
According to the release, Clauson had already amassed 15 wins this season in the USAC Series and was coming off his 112 career win Wednesday night when he won at Solomon Valley Raceway in Beloit, Kansas. He is ranked only behind USAC Hall of Famers Rich Vogler, A.J. Foyt, Sleepy Trip and Mel Kenyon.
Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Watkins Glen International Raceway, driver Tony Stewart shared his thoughts on Clauson, who was at one time a driver for Tony Stewart Racing.
“It’s a tragedy,” Stewart said, following his fifth place finish at The Glen. “The kid drove for us a long time and did a great job. I don’t care what happened, no matter how bad his day was he always found a way to smile with it. You know him and Lauren being engaged. This kid had such a bright future and it was hard to start the day today in the car. It sucks when it’s anybody in racing, it’s hard when you lose them but it’s even worse when they are somebody that is as close to you as Bryan was. Like I said, I feel for Lauren today, and Bryan’s parents and his sister. I hope to be able to see them soon but thinking about them more than anything right now.”

The outpouring of support and respect was shared by nearly every sanctioning body in race with NASCAR, the INDYCAR Series and others.
NASCAR Executive V.P. and Chief Racing Officer, Steve O’Donnell also released a statement on Clauson’s death, expressing the sympathies of the entire NASCAR family.
“NASCAR extends its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Bryan Clauson, a passionate competitor whose love for racing fueled his unmatched positive spirit. He was a dear friend to many in the racing community, and he was loved and respected by all who knew him. He touched the lives of so many in our motorsports family, and his warm presence and relentless enthusiasm will be missed.”
INDYCAR 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,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “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.”

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