ANDERSON, Ind (WISH) – Bryan Clauson’s climb to IndyCar’s pinnacle will leave a lasting impact on central Indiana drivers.
Drivers looking to reach the Indy 500 have to start somewhere. For Noblesville driver Clauson, it was the banks of Anderson Speedway that got him there.
“He was just amazing behind the wheel of a race car,” Anderson Speedway president Rick Dawson said. “He could do things with a race car that seems almost unheard of, especially on this track.”
Dawson reflected on Clauson’s career a day after the driver died from injuries he suffered during a crash in Kansas. The Central Indiana driver took part in three Indianapolis 500 races.
He began his career in 1994. Dawson said he started to race in Anderson a decade ago. “Racing was Bryan’s life,” Dawson said. “He was very successful at it. I mean, he was one of those talents that’s just God given, because you can’t teach [it].”
Two years ago, his talent landed him on the pole at the speedway’s biggest race, the Little 500. “The look on his face when he set fast time and knew he was going to be leading that great race was just something that I’ll remember forever,” Dawson said.
Clauson grew up in California and later moved to Hamilton County. But it was small central Indiana tracks, packed with crowds, where some believe he got his passion. “The family atmosphere and the closeness that the racers are with the fans — and their other competitors — I think it’s very important as they grow into the big leagues,” Dawson said.
Even though he made it big, Dawson says the small-town boy will continue to inspire those looking to turn left on the biggest stage of the world. “A true talent is recognized by the right people, and Bryan was one of those, and he had made it to the top and he was going further,” Dawson said.
Dawson also raced at the Kokomo Speedway. He was scheduled to run races in Howard County later this month.
As for honoring Clauson during the upcoming races, a Kokomo Speedway spokesperson said, “We will absolutely do something to honor Bryan at some point. Our main focus right now is supporting his parents & fiance during this difficult time period.”