Bryan Clauson Dies After Crash in USAC Midget Car Race

After sustaining heavy injuries in a crash during a USAC Midget Car race at the Belleville High Banks Speedway in Kansas on Saturday night, Bryan Clauson succumbed to his injuries the following night. He was 27 years old.

There was an outpour of support as news spread across the NASCAR and racing community. NASCAR legend Tony Stewart, a veteran in the dirt track racing scene as owner of the famous track Eldora Speedway, and a long-time Sprint Car owner of Clauson, was one of the first to share the news of the horrific crash on Twitter, asking to “keep our buddy @BryanClausonInc in your prayers.” The Tweet was shared by countless other drivers and owners. On Monday, many more offered their condolences and prayers.

Bryan Clauson Dies After Crash in USAC Midget Car Race

Clauson was still an up-and-coming driver in NASCAR, racing primarily in the Nationwide (now XFINITY) Series for Chip Ganassi. He had a total of 26 starts over the span of two seasons. In 2008, he picked up his first career pole and top-10, at Daytona and first career top-5, at Kentucky. Clauson also has one career win in the ARCA Racing Series.

In 2016, Clauson competed in the 100th Indianapolis 500, placing 23rd. While he hadn’t quite made his mark in racing’s top series, and was unable to find another ride after his XFINITY Series deal fell through, he still was considered to be of legendary status in USAC. In 2005, he was the youngest driver ever to win a National USAC Midget race, at just 16 years, three months and 23 days old. He has accumulated over 70 wins, and multiple championships, driving both Sprints and Midgets. Clauson was trying to do the unthinkable and race 200 open-wheel races this season. He won 27 of the 116 races he competed in.

A statement from his fiancé Lauren posted on his Twitter account read:

“Bryan fought to the very end with the same desire that he demonstrated behind the wheel of all the various cars he would park in Victory Lane. However, we were more proud of our Bryan that took a moment to make a young fans’ day or demonstrated his uncommon kindness and appreciation towards his friends, family and fans.”

Legacy

Bryan Clauson was a true racer. He did not care whether he was competing among NASCAR’s elite on the big stage or racing at a local track. He loved driving Sprint and Midget cars. It’s how he moved up into the more competitive series in the first place. His accomplishments are historic but they may not be remembered. What definitely will be remembered is Bryan Clauson: the man. The one who, like Lauren mentioned in the note, was kind, appreciative and able to see the things bigger than racing. He would stop to chat and sign an autograph or take a picture to make a young fan’s day. Bryan Clauson will be deeply missed across the racing community.

A donation website has been set up in honour at http://usacbf.org/cash-donation/.

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