Tributes have started flowing immediately following the death of Bryan Clauson, one of the most talented drivers in oval racing today.
Clauson succumbed to injuries from an accident Saturday night at the Belleville Nationals. He was listed in critical condition on Sunday per a family statement before news was released this morning that he’d died on Sunday night.
Statements from INDYCAR, IMS and USAC are below, followed by the first wave of what will likely be a plethora of tribute tweets (NASCAR community ones here).
“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,” said Mark Miles, CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “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.”
“Short-track racing has always been the heart and soul of auto racing in America,” said Doug Boles, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president. “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,” Boles added. “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.”
“It is with extreme sadness that we must accept this devastating news,” said USAC CEO/President Kevin Miller. “This is one of the darkest days in the history of the United States Auto Club. Not only have we lost one of our greatest USAC Champions, we have lost a true ambassador for all of motorsports. Bryan’s passion for our sport was unparalleled. He was a leader not only on the track, but in the pits with his fellow competitors. There is a tremendous hole in the hearts of our community today as we grieve his loss along with his family and friends.”