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Fiancee of Bryan Clauson: ‘My heart felt healed for the first time in eight months’

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Eight months after Lauren Stewart’s “world had crashed” with the death of her fiancee, Bryan Clauson, Stewart has met the man whose life continued on because of it.

Clauson, a two-time USAC national sprint car and national midget car champion, died on Aug. 7 at 27 from injuries sustained in the Belleville Midget Nationals a day earlier.

Lauren Stewart, second from right, poses with “Dan the Heart Man.” (Photo by Lauren Stewart)

Clauson competed in the Indianapolis 500 three times and made 26 starts in the Xfinity Series from 2007-08.

Stewart wrote about her experience of losing Clauson – who was an organ donor – and working up the courage to meed “Dan the Heart Man” on her blog.

“My heart was full, bursting, overflowing with love. Last night, my heart felt healed for the first time in eight months. My heart was happy because I got to feel and hear Bryan’s heartbeat again. Bryan’s heart is living on – beating inside of Dan the Heart Man.”

Stewart traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, to meet “Dan the Heart Man” and his family during the Easter weekend, but the idea of the trip was one she debated over with herself.

“I didn’t want to meet Dan. I did at first, but in the last month or so, I decided I didn’t want to make the trip to Omaha. I was doing it for my family – mainly for Bryan’s mom. I wanted to be there to support them because they have done everything to support me over the last eight months. I was scared. Anxious. Nervous. All of that. But the real reason I didn’t want to meet Dan was simple – he wasn’t Bryan.”

During her time with Dan and his family, Stewart learned he shared a few personality traits with Clauson and that he calls the heart he received “Bryan.”

“When Dan tells his life story, he has a way of making it sound almost boring (but he didn’t fool me!)…. almost like someone else I knew. Bryan always downplayed his career and accomplishments, especially when talking to new people. In that regard, Dan reminds me so much of B.”

Read the rest of Stewart’s blog to learn how Clauson’s legacy is being kept alive by “Dan the Heart Man.”

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Ricciardo set to see Dale Jr.’s final Texas ride in two weeks (VIDEO)

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We’ve written before about Daniel Ricciardo’s love of Dale Earnhardt and his love of the No. 3, which Ricciardo has selected as his permanent number for the duration of his Formula 1 career. And additionally, Dale Earnhardt Jr. has offered up the opportunity that one day Ricciardo could race a JR Motorsports car in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition, and Ricciardo has said he’d be up for it.

And although Earnhardt Jr. has only used the No. 3 on a handful of occasions in his career in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Ricciardo knows how much the number means to the NASCAR veteran as he prepares for his final few starts in the Cup Series the tail-end of this year.

After the Mexican Grand Prix next week, Ricciardo is set to stay in North America for the off-week between the Mexican and Brazilian Grands Prix.

In that break, he said he’ll see Earnhardt Jr. in person at the Cup race at Texas Motor Speedway (Sunday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m. ET, NBCSN) to ensure he gets to see him before he retires from full-time competition.

Ricciardo explained his planning during Thursday’s pre-race edition of the NBC Sports Group original digital series Paddock Pass, speaking to NBCSN’s Will Buxton at the United States Grand Prix at Circuit of The Americas in Austin.

“Well I’ll see him for the first time in Dallas. I’m gonna go to the NASCAR race in two weeks time at Texas Motor Speedway,” Ricciardo told NBCSN.

“Yeah, so, I gotta see him race before he hangs up the helmet.

“The Earnhardt family is a huge name in motorsport, not only in America but all over the world. Yeah I wish him well.”

Ricciardo is also optimistic he’ll get the chance to do a helmet swap with Earnhardt Jr. at the event.

“Hopefully I get to see him perform well in Texas. I’m gonna try to do a helmet swap with him. We’ll see how we go.”

Stay tuned for more on this over the coming weeks.