Indy 500 Veteran Lost on the Dirt at Belleville

Bryan Clauson at Beloit KS

One of racing's brightest stars, Bryan Clauson, died late Sunday in Lincoln, Nebraska, after being involved in a turn 4 wreck during a USAC midget dirt-track race on Saturday night in Belleville, Kansas. Clauson had just taken the lead in the 39th running of the Belleville Midget Nationals when his racecar struck the rear of a vehicle being lapped. The collision caused Clauson's car to flip end over end several times before coming to rest in the middle of the track. A third car could not avoid hitting Clauson's stalled car. The talented multi-time USAC National Champion was airlifted to Bryan Medical Center with severe injuries.

The Indianapolis 500 is America's most historic racing event. The race is traditionally run over the Memorial Day weekend. It is every open-wheel drivers dream to race at the "Brick Yard", which gets its name from the 1910 repaving of the track with 3.2 million bricks. Clauson competed in three Indy 500 events, including the 100th running of the race in 2016. The rising young star finished 23rd driving for the Jonathan Byrd/Dale Coyne Racing team back in May. He also had 26 starts in NASCAR's Xfinity Series for Chip Ganassi Racing and won a USAC Sprint Car Championship driving for Tony Stewart Racing.

Versatility as a racecar driver is at the heart of what Bryan Clauson was all about. The native Californian was a rising star in multiple types of racing events. Clauson, who had planned to compete in 200 events this year, lost his life in his 116th start. His most recent win came on Wednesday night in a USAC midget event in Beloit, Kansas. It was Clauson's 27th victory of the 2016 season. The Clauson family has asked that fans donate to the USAC Benevolent Fund with checks made payable to the USAC Benevolent Foundation in the name of Bryan Clauson. Donations may be mailed to 124 E. Northfield Drive, Suite F #129, Brownsburg, IN 46112.

Racing is a wonderful sport that sometimes ends in tragedy. E3 Spark Plugs and all of our race fans offer our sincerest condolences to the Clauson family, his fiancé and his friends. His talent behind the wheel and his personality in the pits will be sorely missed.

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