National Dirt
Tuesday, 9 August 2016


Bryan Clauson in victory lane after a USAC Indiana Midget victory at Plymouth Speedway in May 2016. Bryan Clauson in victory lane after a USAC Indiana Midget victory at Plymouth Speedway in May 2016. John Mahoney Photos

Please enjoy this compilation of quotes and thoughts on Bryan Clauson.


“Short-track racing has always been the heart and soul of auto racing in America. Bryan Clauson combined his passion and enthusiasm for grassroots racing with a God-given talent that made him the favorite to win every time he got in a midget or sprint car. And he proved on the world's largest racing stage – by leading three laps in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 – that he could use that talent in just about anything with wheels. More importantly, he possessed a humility and character out of the race car that made him a person that fellow competitors and fans alike enjoyed being around. His spirit, his positive outlook and his thrilling talent will be missed by the entire racing community. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are with the Clauson family in this difficult time.”

– Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway President


“This is certainly a sad day for the racing community as a whole, and on behalf of INDYCAR and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we send our deepest condolences to the family of Bryan Clauson.

Anybody who witnessed Bryan behind the wheel of a race car can attest to his elite ability, relentlessness and unbridled willingness to race anything on wheels. While he’ll be remembered most as a legend of short-track racing, his participation in the Indianapolis 500 exemplifies his fearlessness, true versatility as a competitor and the pure depth of his talent as a driver.”

– Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co.


“We are all devastated and saddened by the news released today.  I sat in the garage last night and just thought of what to say.  So much came to my mind; it’s just hard to put it all into words.  Bryan was a fierce competitor; he lived the dream many of us wish to be able to live.  He was a true ambassador for our sport and became the face of USAC.  Every time his truck and trailer pulled in, you knew you were going to have to give it all if you wanted to beat him.  He and I became closer this year as we battled more this year than ever before.  Not knowing each other before I moved to Indiana, it's crazy to think we were born in the same hospital in Carmichael, California!

Unfortunately, I won't get to race against this fierce competitor again until a later time.  He only made me want to better myself so I could compete with him night-in and night-out.  May you look over us with that smirky smile.  God speed, my friend.  Continued prayers to Lauren, Tim, Diana, Taylor and family.  You all should be so proud of the man we called BC.”

– Chad Boespflug, USAC Sprint Car competitor


“We are saddened about the passing of race car driver Bryan Clauson. Our thoughts are with his friends and family.”

– Indiana Pacers


“As we pause to honor the passing of a Hoosier racing champion, let us keep the Clauson family and his fiancée Lauren in our thoughts and prayers.  Bryan Clauson was a tremendous competitor and his incredible talent was evident from the Hoosier state’s many short tracks to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Karen (Pence) and I were deeply saddened to learn of (his) passing.”

– Mike Pence, Governor of the state of Indiana


“This world has lost not only a legendary racer, but an even better man, son, friend, brother and mentor. I have looked up to Bryan since my early days of racing karts knowing that I wanted to be just like him some day. Watching him so gracefully wheel a non-wing sprint car and dominate sparked my love and passion for the pure excitement that is non-wing racing.  

Ever since I met the Clausons back in 2012, they have been so supportive of me and my dreams.  I'll never forget the first year racing at the Chili Bowl for them and the continuous advice and support from Bryan from that week on.  I'll never forget my first race in a non-wing sprint car at Bryan's favorite place on earth - Kokomo Speedway - and how much Bryan supported me and went above and beyond to help that night when we had some radiator trouble.  That's just who Bryan was - the kind of guy with a big heart who'd do anything to help others.

This year, getting the opportunity to wrench for Bryan on the #63 non-wing sprint car, has been a blast and filled with so many memories that so often ended on the front stretch of some race track in victory lane. Bryan embodied what it meant to truly be a racer and he'll forever, in my eyes, be the greatest to ever strap in a race car. 

My heart hurts for his fiancée Lauren and the rest of his family, Tim, Diana, Taylor, Kimberly, Greg, Austin and Tyler.  I pray for comfort for them during this hard time.  Bryan had such an amazing impact on everyone whose life he touched. I know, for myself, that I will dearly miss everything about him and can't wait to see him again one day. Thanks for all the memories and for not only being a mentor to me, but a friend as well.  Love you.  Rest in peace buddy.”

– Payton Pierce, crew member for Bryan Clauson


“The first time I met Bryan, I was a 15-year-old kid whose mom dropped him off at his shop so I could go to the races.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into or how much I was going to learn, not only about racing, but also about life.  Bryan taught me a lot in the couple of years I got to spend racing with him.  Looking back on it now, there were so many good times and I hope this teaches me to always cherish the good times and to keep the ones I love close, always.

Bryan did a lot of good things for a lot of people.  One of the many good memories that pops into my head was when the 2012 “Gold Crown Midget Nationals” were approaching and I was a 16-year-old kid who wanted to go race. I was working hard to get my old Stealth midget ready to go.  Bryan knew how badly I wanted to go, but he also knew I couldn't really afford to.  Long story short, Bryan paid my $300 entry fee, gave me used tires out of his shop to use and gave me a hotel floor to sleep on.  He didn't care if I ran last in the C-main; he just cared for me and wanted to help me.

“Thank you Bryan for TRYING to teach me how to play golf, for giving my first truck its nickname, for helping me (doing it for me) with my algebra homework while we were on the road, for always giving me tips on how to pick up chicks even when they didn't work for me like they would have for you, for constantly reminding me ‘you're an idiot’ for filtering my tweets when I tweeted something stupid, for all the times you made me mad when you would tell me I was doing something wrong.  Because, looking back now, you were always just trying to make me a better person.

I now realize that Bryan was more than just a boss, a friend or a competitor to me.  He was, and will always be, my hero.  I can't wait to meet him again someday.  Until then, rest easy BC.  We all love you and we're going to keep racing on just like you want us to.

Prayers go to Tim, Di, Lauren, Taylor, his best friend Ben and all of Bryan's family and friends through this hard time.”

– Isaac Chapple, USAC Sprint Car competitor


“What is it about this sport that I love? Sure, the speed, the excitement, the courage of the drivers. But I think what's most special about dirt track racing is how much we all mean to each other. That's a bond that people outside of our community cannot possibly understand. Look at how many Bryan impacted. Look at the Tweets, the Facebook posts, the photos.

Whether he wanted to be or not, I think Bryan became the face of dirt track America. His connection to Indy opened new eyes to our world. His ties to NASCAR kept the door open for midget and sprint car aces to go South. The consummate professional when interacting with fans, he was the perfect representative for us in every facet of life. He was OUR guy.

So why, when the face of our sport is ripped away from us in the prime of his career, do we soldier on to another race track? I suppose because that's what BC would want. That's always the response, but we know the guy was a racer. It's also because that's where our family is. That's where we find comfort... in the company of each other. Where we can console one another, cry on each other's shoulders... but also share happy stories of our favorite times with Bryan and go back to the places where our love for him and his talent all started. Going racing is how we heal because that's where a lot of the fun memories are.

Despite that, the desire to keep going is unexplainable in wake of what happened this weekend. How we do it without Bryan, I don't know. I guess we honor his memory by enjoying every second we have at a race track with the same passion that he showcased each and every night. By uplifting his legacy with stories of his generosity to the Autism Society and other charities. By guaranteeing his efforts to take dirt track racing from more than just a weekend hobby to a sport that receives national attention regularly don't stop.

I never had a chance to tell him he was one of my heroes and I don't know what kind of response I'd have gotten if I did. Probably that half chuckle and grin that he'd give so often. I'll miss watching him race because we truly were watching one of the best of all time, but I'll miss recapping a recent Pacers game or talking trash about fantasy football even more.

I am so grateful to have announced his last victory on Wednesday at Beloit. It was truly a classic BC win. I'll treasure that forever.

Thanks for the memories, buddy. Godspeed, B.”

– Dillon Welch, USAC Announcer and former competitor for Bryan Clauson Racing


“We've lost someone I've looked up to since I moved into the world of open wheel racing.  I've had the pleasure to go to battle with this guy over the course of my whole career - someone I've watched, learned, and grown from.  He was a mentor to me and probably didn't even know it.  No matter where or what you were racing, if Bryan Clauson was there, you knew you had to take it to the next level.

That night at Williams Grove would be no different.  It would play out to be one of the best races I was ever a part of and one of the very few times I was lucky enough to say I beat, arguably, the best to ever strap in an open wheel race car.  Bryan raced as hard and clean as anyone and, as the great competitor he was, he was still there to greet me with a smile in victory lane.  He's done more for this sport, not only as a racer, but as a person, than most of us could dream of.  I know he was loved by so many; he was one of the most popular guys in motorsports and I was lucky enough to call him a friend.  My thoughts continue to be with Lauren and the entire Clauson family.  Rest easy, Bryan.”

– Chris Windom, USAC Sprint Car competitor


“The last few days have been some of the hardest of my entire life. I am heartbroken of the loss of Bryan Clauson. He was one of the greatest and most talented open wheel drivers the world has ever seen. His love and dedication to the sport is unrivaled.

More importantly, he was a truly great person and friend. Tim and Di should be extremely proud of the wonderful man they raised. The love Bryan has shown my family and I will never be forgotten. Xia Xianna and I are eternally grateful for the time Levany has gotten to spend with her Uncle B whom she loves so much.

I cannot begin to imagine the pain that Lauren, Tim, Di, and Taylor are enduring right now. I will be praying for them and ask the wonderful racing family that we are all a part of to do the same.

It comes as no surprise that Bryan has beaten us to the finish line, but I cannot express enough how much I wish this race was much, much longer.”

– Brady Bacon, USAC Sprint Car competitor


“Still hard to believe or even understand why we lost one of the racing legends of our time. I've had the pleasure of racing against Bryan Clauson for the last 10-11 years. He's proved time and time again that he is the best open wheel racer and I know we will miss that every time we sign in to the pit gate. My deepest condolences to the whole Clauson family, Bryan has touched so many lives during his short time here with us.”

– Chase Stockon, USAC Sprint Car competitor


“Racing has lost one of the best. It's hard to understand why these things happen, but we must keep our trust in God and know that he controls all and has a plan for each of us. Bryan Clauson was a special driver and person that only comes around once in a blue moon. He was a threat to win in everything he drove and just kept getting better. To say you got to battle with him on the track is an honor and I'm sure every driver is privileged to do so. Prayers for the Clauson family. Rest in peace BC.”

– Kyle Cummins, USAC Sprint Car competitor


“Yesterday, we lost a fellow competitor, a true ambassador for the sport, a friend. The only reason we didn't call him a legend was because he was too young and not close to being done. He reached legend status years ago. We have all lost a little something. Whether you were a fan, a racer, knew him or didn't know him. He touched everyone. Personally, we are trying to figure out how to tell a 7-year-old who grew up looking up to Bryan, someone who Bryan treated as a friend and was sitting in the stands watching the whole thing unfold.

The few times I got to beat Bryan was mostly (my son) Cale playing with his midgets on the couch. He at least made sure I beat Bryan. I have seen the relationship with Tim and Bryan. We talk about when Bryan was growing up racing now that Cale has started. I hope that I can continue to have that relationship with my kids as they grow older. Every dad in racing, or any sport for that matter, should take a lesson from them. All of this taken away, not by a drunk driver or cancer, but by something that Bryan truly loved. Something he dedicated his life to. A passion that cannot be described.

I don't know if that's what makes this so difficult. His dedication on the track was something to watch. His dedication off the track was even more spectacular. Belleville is a special place to me as this was my 26th one. As a three-time winner, I'm not going to lie, I was a little bummed when Bryan tied that. Lol. I knew it was a matter of time, though, before he did. And I have no doubt that like many other records he was going to break, he was going to be the first four-time winner. I am honored to be next to him on that board.”

– Jerry Coons, Jr., USAC Triple Crown Champion


“Have you ever thought to yourself, ‘man, I wish I had gotten the chance to see the glory days?’

Over the decade-plus that I’ve watched Bryan Clauson compete on racetracks big and small across the country, I firmly believe that I was a witness to the glory days.

No driver in the history of the United States Auto Club accomplished as much in as short amount of time as Bryan Clauson did. His résumé included 112 USAC wins (fifth all-time), four USAC National Series titles and three USAC National Driver Championships as well as three starts in the Indianapolis 500.

At age 27, he was already one of the most decorated and accomplished drivers in the history of USAC. The numbers speak for themselves.

Yet, he still had so much left to give, not only to his sport, but to everyone who met him. Like a shooting star that illuminates the nighttime sky, Bryan was only here a short amount of time, but the lasting impact he left us has created a legacy that will forever shine.

When we are born into this Earth, it is a foregone conclusion that we must one day have to leave. We don’t know exactly when that time will come, but it is an expectation that we all must accept. But, a full life isn’t merely dictated by its duration; it comes down to what you did during your time on Earth that defines “living.” Bryan was able to fit more living and accomplishments in his 27 years than most people would in ten lifetimes.

Whether it was on a hot, muggy night for a USAC Midget race in Beloit, Kansas (the site of his final win just last week), a Sunday weekly sprint car show at Kokomo or even the Indianapolis 500, every which way you looked in the grandstands at a racetrack, it didn’t take long to spot someone wearing a Bryan Clauson shirt. And there was a reason for that.

Bryan always had a focused gaze in his eyes as soon as he strapped his helmet on, tightened his belts and gripped the steering wheel. Yet, Bryan would always be the first one to greet you with a friendly smile and always had time to talk to everybody. He was America’s driver.

Gifted, yet humble. Talented, yet personable. He was everything you’d want a racecar driver to be.

That was Bryan Clauson.”

– Richie Murray, USAC Public Relations


“So sad to hear of Bryan Clauson Racing's passing - an incredible man and driver. Thoughts and prayers for his family and friends.”

– Jeff Gordon, NASCAR competitor and USAC champion


“Bryan was the ultimate racer.  I will deeply miss seeing Bryan Clauson going after 200 starts this year.  I will miss seeing Chevy Clauson bark out ‘Barked It.’ I will miss everything about the complete Bryan Clauson gang.  To Lauren and everyone with Bryan, I am so sorry and I love you.”

– Kenny Wallace, NASCAR Commentator


“The World of Outlaws and the whole World Racing Group extends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bryan Clauson. Clauson was a fierce and passionate competitor and dear friend to so many. His loss leaves an enormous and unfillable void within the motorsports community.”

– World of Outlaws


“It's surreal to think Bryan Clauson is gone. He was one of the good ones. He was kind, funny, and a damn good driver. Heavy heart today.”

– Danica Patrick, NASCAR competitor


“Our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and fans of Bryan Clauson. Ever the bright spot and star in whichever genre of motorsports he was competing in, Tony Stewart/Curb-Agajanian Racing is proud to have had the privilege of not only having him behind wheel, but as a friend and part of our organization. We're all better people for having had Bryan as part of our lives. We ask that you keep his family - Tim, Diana, Lauren, Taylor & Zach - along with his extended family and many friends and fans in your thoughts and prayers. Rest in peace, BC, and Godspeed.

– Tony Stewart Racing


“Our sport lost one of the best. Not only was Bryan a competitor when we hit the track, but someone you could watch do things in a car that some would never even attempt. I'll never forget lining up for the prestigious “Hoosier 100” just a few months ago. As we rolled down the front stretch on the wave lap, I can honestly say this was the first time that I have ever been nervous in the car before the start of the race. This wasn't due to the fact it was right before 100 laps on the Indy mile, this was because I was lined up next to one of the best drivers in the world, Bryan Clauson. Godspeed, Bryan.”

– Austin Nemire, USAC Midget and Silver Crown competitor


“Bryan Clauson has been such a great friend and an inspiration to all of us in this racing family. He touched so many lives, but the people he touched the most have been the young people who gravitated to him. Every one of us have heroes as we grow up, but Bryan has always been the real deal.

From little kids to young race mechanics that move across the country to be around him, or young race drivers that look up to him because they want to be great like him some day. Young people have always flocked to Bryan and Bryan took them in.

He guided them in all aspects of their lives and any young person who got that chance to be around him became better people. The really young people without any doubt looked up to Bryan as if he was the world; he made them feel special; he was one of them, playing video games with them, kicking the soccer ball or making them beyond happy when they got their picture taken with him in victory lane.

Today was the hardest day in my life as I had to talk to my nine-year-old Maddie bear and tell her that Bryan went to Jesus. He was, for sure, her hero, with Kevin Thomas, Jr. a close second. I thank Bryan for that and I will forever be grateful for the magical 2012 season that we had together: Eastern storm champions, ‘Bob Darland Memorial’ champs, ‘Smackdown’ champions, National non-wing sprint car team of the year and USAC Crew Chief of the year. God speed my friend!”

– Michael Dutcher, USAC Sprint Car Owner


“Our heart goes out to the family and friends of Bryan Clauson. He will be missed dearly by IMS and the racing family.”

– Indianapolis Motor Speedway


“Our sport has lost an incredible person - A winner more times than most of us will ever be. It was a true honor to be your teammate, Bryan. I can only hope to make the Byrd Racing black and green look as good as you did. We will miss you brother.”

– Conor Daly, IndyCar competitor


“The world knew him as a talented driver, but off the track, he was an even better person. Bryan lived and was raised in Noblesville and represented our city well whenever he was away. He brought so much joy to our community as we watched him grow through the driving ranks and participate in some of the sport’s biggest races. His presence and humble smile will be missed.”

John Distlear – Mayor of Noblesville, Indiana (Clauson’s hometown)


“Noblesville High School is proud to call Bryan Clauson one of our own. He will always be remembered as our friend, classmate, teammate and of course, our favorite racer. Our thoughts are with his family, his friends and all the people inside and outside of NHS that he has touched over the years.”

– Jeff Bryant, Principal of Noblesville High School (Clauson’s alma-mater)


“Dear BC, thank you for being my teammate this past May. I never really knew you until we worked together, but I enjoyed it so much, I was counting down the days until we could do it again next May. I am so grateful that I got to know you better, could call you my friend, and that I got to come watch you race on dirt - your home turf. I am grateful I got to see you rack up one of your many W’s that night and I am so glad you grabbed a photo with me before I left. I wish I had asked you to sign it.

I am heartbroken for your family, for Lauren, for your closest friends, and yes, for Chevy and Stewart who will miss you too, but I am also heartbroken for myself.

I will miss you. Dale Coyne Racing will miss you. USAC will miss you. The IndyCar Series and the Indy 500 will miss you. The fans will miss you. You touched us all; we will all miss you, and we will all remember you. Rest in peace my friend.”

Pippa Mann, IndyCar competitor


“Our hearts are heavy after hearing of the loss of a true racer. We’re thinking of family and friends of Bryan Clauson today. Godspeed, BC.”

– Ed Carpenter Racing, IndyCar Team


“RIP BC. Man had endless talent, but more importantly, was a heck of a good guy, a caring individual and carried himself with class and dignity.”

– Graham Rahal, IndyCar competitor


“So sad to hear about the passing of Bryan Clauson.  He was such a fierce competitor and an even better person. It was always a joy to see him in the driver motorhome lot at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway with his pups. Sending prayers to his family as they deal with this devastating loss.”

– Simon Pagenaud, IndyCar competitor


“Thinking about Bryan and his family. He was truly a wonderful person and one hell of racer.”

– Josef Newgarden, IndyCar competitor


“I remember racing Bryan at Winchester in a sprint car when he was 16 years old, back when I was at Tony Stewart Racing – Bryan’s rookie season in USAC.  I was almost jealous of his ability and fearlessness.  You didn’t see him without a smile and friendly demeanor.  During my years in open wheel, we had many great battles, laughs and I shared more admiration for him than he probably ever knew.  He was a true outlaw.  The likes of A.J. Foyt and Tony Stewart are his ranks.  My prayers are with his family and close friends.  BC, I will see you again someday.”

– Josh Wise, NASCAR Competitor and USAC Champion


“Honored to have had the chance to race against Bryan Clauson. Gutted I won't get to again. Thinking of Lauren and his family.”

– James Hinchcliffe, IndyCar competitor


“Thinking about the whole Clauson family and Lauren this morning as I've been all weekend. Know that the whole racing family is here for you.”

– Charlie Kimball, IndyCar competitor


“You weren't only a mentor, but a true friend. You were a great competitor, but an even better person. Rest easy Bryan. We will miss you.”

– Spencer Bayston, USAC Midget Competitor


“It’s inspiring to see someone follow their dreams, be a leader and try to do things that everyone thinks is impossible (like running 200 races in a calendar year).  Bryan Clauson did those things and, because of that, he will always be remembered as a hero on and off the race track.”

– Carson Macedo, USAC Midget Competitor


“Bryan Clauson was as good as they get behind the wheel and one of the nicest, happiest guys around. Always smiling and enjoying life.”

– Kasey Kahne, NASCAR Competitor and USAC Champion


“Sad to see the news of Bryan Clauson. The racing community just lost another great one.”

– A.J. Allmendinger, NASCAR Competitor


“Thoughts and prayers with the Clauson family. I always admired Bryan Clauson’s love for racing. His determination will never be forgotten.”

– Austin Dillon, NASCAR Competitor


“The racing family lost an amazing young man. Deepest condolences to the family and friends of Bryan Clauson. Rest in Peace.”

Kurt Busch, NASCAR Competitor