Within in the world of NASCAR, there is a vanishing breed. Lost in the mega team structure is that driver who will race wherever there is an open seat. Heck, he’ll race in anything: open wheel, stock, you name it. If it has wheels and an engine, he’s in. Hardcore motorsports fans knew Bryan Clauson, and they know how much racing will miss him.
Bryan Clauson attempted some 200 starts in 2016. That tells you everything you need to know about his passion. That the list includes the Indianapolis 500 and the World of Outlaws says a great deal about his talent. He was a 3-time USAC National Midget Series champion, he won the Chili Bowl in 2014, and he had an impressive resume of other accomplishments in USAC competition.
Bryan Clauson only made 26 starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and raced just three times in Indy Car competition. As a result, the racer who passed away Sunday at age 27 may not have had the same acclaim as a Tony Stewart or Kyle Larson. Stewart knew Clauson well. He told USA Today, ” “It sucks when it’s anybody in racing. It’s hard when you lose them, but it’s even worse when they’re somebody as close to you as Bryan was.”
He makes you think of guys like Smoke or Ken Shrader, racers who would take to some backwater dirt track one night, and show up on the national stage the next day. In this day and age of specialization, you don’t see many racers crisscrossing the map the way a Bryan Clauson would. Granted, a full-time NASCAR driver might have cause to think twice, given what happened with Stewart three summers ago in Iowa. Racing is dangerous no matter the series, and you don’t want to bite the hand the feeds you.
Beyond the talents that made him a prodigious talent when he was barely old enough to possess a driver’s license, Clauson was well-loved as a humble man, generous with the time he gave to his fans. Besides his talent, Bryan Clauson was hailed as an ambassador in a time where the sport can use more.
Bryan Clauson was more than a racer. He was a son, a brother, a lover and a good man. He is survived by Lauren Stewart- whom he was to marry next year, his parents and his sister. May history remember well the man who would be as at home in your backyard as he would the podium. We salute you, Bryan Clauson. Racing is poorer in your absence.