Bryan Clauson died after crashing a midget car on a dirt race track in Belleville, Kansas, on Saturday night. Clauson was best known as a sprint car driver for the United States Auto Club. A “hard crash” during the Belleville Midget Nationals over the weekend sent Clauson to a Nebraska medical center for serious injuries. According to Hollywood Life on Monday, the 27-year-old sprint car driver was left in critical condition following the crash that flipped his midget car. Bryan Clauson’s family shared on Facebook early Monday morning that he had died on Sunday night from severe injuries.
The Facebook post on the Bryan Clauson Racing page said that family and friends surrounded Clauson as they said goodbye to their son, fiancé, and friend. Lauren Stewart, who was scheduled to marry Clauson in February of next year, wrote up the announcement, saying she was grateful that Bryan’s friends and family members could spend his final moments with him. She went on to thank everyone who had shown concern and support for Bryan Clauson and his family following Saturday night’s crash.
“Our 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 fatal midget car crash on Saturday night was apparently the second bad crash for Clauson on the same dirt track two nights in a row. On Saturday, shortly before that night’s big race, Bryan tweeted that he had suffered another “tough hit” last night during the preliminary race. Clauson also tweeted that “the guys” had set him up with another hot rod in preparation for Saturday night’s run around the Belleville High Banks dirt track in Belleville, Kansas.
Racing for the 39th Belleville Midget Nationals began at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, but just after Bryan Clauson took the lead in the championship race, USA Today reported that Clauson’s car climbed the guardrail between turns three and four, flipped several times, stopped on the track, and was then hit by the car driven by Ryan Greth.
Donations are being taken the the United States Auto Club, and CEO Kevin Miller says that Bryan Clauson’s death is one of the darkest days in the the United States Auto Club’s 60-year history.
“Not only have we lost one of our greatest USAC champions, we’ve lost a true ambassador for all of motor sports.”
In 2006, Bryan Clauson spent a short time racing for NASCAR, but returned to the dirt track and midget car racing in January, 2007. Clauson began his successful racing career with the United States Auto Club (USAC) in 2005, just two days after he turned 16. Since then, Bryan has won three USAC National Champion titles in midget cars and two USAC National Sprint Car titles. ABC News reports that Clauson’s goal for 2016 was to complete 200 racing events, and Saturday night’s Belleville Nationals race was his 117th event for the year, which Chad Boat went on to win after Bryan wrecked his car on lap 14.
Bryan Clauson reportedly raced several cars belonging to professional NASCAR and Sprint car driver Tony Stewart after joining the Tony Stewart USAC racing team in 2010. Stewart said that Clauson’s death was a tragedy. Stewart went on to say that no matter how bad Bryan’s day was, the young race car driver from Noblesville, Indiana, always found a way to smile with it.
“That kid drove for us for a long time and did a great job and never went anywhere.
“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.”
Fans are sending thoughts and prayers and sympathy to Bryan Clauson and his family, saying they “can’t believe this,” and their “hearts are heavy” for everyone’s loss.
[Image via @BryanClauson/Twitter]