Wednesday, August 10, 2016
US racing driver and Carmichael, California native Bryan Clauson died Sunday night from injuries sustained after a crash during Saturday’s Belleville Midget Nationals quarter midget race in Kansas. He was 27 years old.
On lap 14 of the race, Clauson took the lead when he collided with a lapped car in turn four and hit the track’s guardrail. The contact forced his car into a roll, landing on its side, where it was struck by Ryan Greth’s car. The race was suspended under a red flag as track workers removed Clauson from his vehicle, a process that took 30 minutes to complete. He was airlifted to Bryan Medical Center West in Lincoln, Nebraska, where he was reported to be in critical condition. On Monday, Clauson’s family released a statement to United States Auto Club (USAC) officials announcing Clauson had died from his injuries. USAC CEO Kevin Miller stated, “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 motorsports.”
The race was the 116th of the year for Clauson as part of a campaign known as the Circular Insanity Tour, in which he attempted to run 200 races in 2016. Entering the Belleville Nationals, he had won 27 feature races. He was a three-time USAC National Midget and two-time USAC National Sprint Car champion with over 170 wins in USAC-sanctioned events, including a Chili Bowl Nationals win in 2014. He competed in stock car racing, driving in NASCAR and the ARCA Racing Series, winning a race in the latter. He ran 26 Busch Series (now Xfinity Series) races in 2007 and 2008 for Chip Ganassi Racing, recording a best finish of fifth at Kentucky Speedway in 2008. In 2008, he attempted three Sprint Cup Series races for Ganassi, but failed to qualify for all three. Clauson also ran three Indianapolis 500 events, one of which included the 100th running in 2016, where he finished 23rd.
In the previous night’s race, Clauson crashed into Morgan Frewaldt’s car in a similar location to his accident on Saturday. Clauson’s team reported he was sore after the impact, but he tweeted his thanks to his safety equipment and chassis manufacturer for keeping him safe.
He is survived by his parents, Tim and Diana, his sister, Taylor and his fiancé, Lauren Stewart.