This week, the race family is hurting.
Regardless of religious beliefs or lack thereof, we pray and hope that Bryan Clauson is at peace. We continue to pray and hope that those Bryan left behind can find peace over time, taking comfort in the memories and feeling the loving embrace from the worldwide race community. A community that he had a profound effect on.
I will not claim to know Bryan Clauson personally. Sadly, I didn’t have the opportunity to sit down and have a conversation with him. But the stories and accounts shared by so many yesterday, make it glaringly apparent to everyone, that his heart and his spirit, in combination with his God-given talent, is why he not only found astounding success in USAC, but why he was welcomed by a multitude of racing series and formed friendships with so many drivers and their families, within those series.
Bryan’s list of career successes is seemingly endless. Just to scratch the surface though: he contested in USAC Sprint Cars and Midgets (too many times to count), NASCAR (26 races over 2 years), Indy Lights (8 races over 2 years), and IndyCar (3 Indy 500s, including the 100th Running where he led laps this past May). He was a 3-time USA National Midget Series Champ, a 3-time USAC National Drivers Champ, a 2-time Turkey Night Grand Prix Winner, a 2-time USAC National Sprint Car Series Champion, the 2013 Non-Winged Driver of the Year, and the 2014 Chili Bowl Winner. That doesn’t even count his myriad of podium finishes and number of times he full-on “parked it” in victory lane.
His 2016 season was dubbed, “The Chasing 200 Tour” because he was attempting to run 200 races in one year. This past Saturday at Belleville High Banks was contest #116 and tragically, where that tally ended. The world lost Bryan this past weekend, and it was a gut-wrenching loss that everyone in the racing world felt.
Bryan left behind a legacy… not just with his vastly impressive accomplishments on track, but in the way that he lived his life, how he treated others, and how he lived his passion so openly. That passion for racing is shared by countless individuals around this planet, and that is why he will always be alive in our hearts. We will carry on Bryan’s love of the sport, each of us in our own unique way, paying him respect and thanking him for everything he taught us, whether we had the supreme pleasure of knowing him in person or simply knowing of his warm heart and determined soul.
I wanted to share the following links. This is just a small sampling of the numerous pieces, tributes, and commentary on Bryan, from the past few days… these stuck with me the most:
Bryan Clauson’s Talent was Surpassed only by his Class – Tony DiZinno, NBC Sports