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Bryan Clauson: 1989 – 2016

Three-time Indy 500 starter, Bryan Clauson, succumbed to injuries sustained in a catastrophic incident Saturday night during the Belleville Nationals. He was 27 years old.

Clauson, whose primary focus typically lay within USAC competition, was competing in the 38th annual legendary sprint car race in Belleville. After just taking the lead, Clauson came on to slower traffic, striking one car and becoming airborne. His car came to rest in the middle of the clay oval and was struck by another competitor. Officials cut the car’s protective roll cage in order to extricate the young American. Despite the quick actions of the track’s safety crew and on-site medics, Clauson died late Sunday night at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The Noblesville, Indiana native looked to compete in 200 races in 2016, including this year’s 100th running of the Indianapolis 500. Among those 156 races, Clauson led the famed race for three laps before finishing 23rd. He left Indianapolis Motor Speedway following the end of the 500 mile race and ventured to Kokomo Speedway for a sprint car race– a race he won. The victory in Kokomo allowed Clauson to became the first and only driver to lead the Indianapolis 500 and win a sprint car race on the same day. Clauson ultimately made it through 156 of his attempt at 200 races.

“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,” the Clauson family said in a statement released Monday.

“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 (Sunday) morning,” the family said.

“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.”

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be submitted online or by mail to:

USAC Benevolent Foundation
124 E Northfield Dr, Ste F #129
Brownsburg, IN  46112

A service honoring Bryan Clauson will be held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Details for the service will be announced in the coming days.

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Zach Wenzel