Bryan Clauson: Flexible and Persistent

Bryan Clausen

(WOMR file photo)

“I just wanted to race for a living”, says Bryan Clauson.  As far as dreams go Clauson is a typical racer, he just wants to race cars for a living.  In these times of an economy in tatters and of automobile racing in a state of flux, all dreams and aspirations had better be able to withstand extremely disappointing seismic jolts. Like those experienced by Clauson in the last five years.

Clauson was one of those young talents who appeared, at least, to be in the right place at the right time. At 17, in 2007, he won an ARCA race and piled up a bunch of top-five finishes.  ”It was a duck to water sort of thing,” he said. “It didn’t take long to get adapted and it was a lot of fun. Got to learn from a lot of great people because back in those days, we got to lean on the Cup people quite a bit.”

And after a couple of months of that, he was put into a NASCAR Nationwide Series car.

“At that point, things are going great,” Clauson said. “Things were rolling. Everything that can go right was going right. It was one of those things where things were good.”

In 2008, the fan blades were soiled by the economy. The second half of the season, Clauson shared a Nationwide ride with Dario Franchitti, a winner of the Indianapolis 500 who was lured from IndyCar to NASCAR by the challenge and by that driver gene-oriented urge to be where the action is.

The next call from Ganassi, who had merged operations with Dale Earnhardt Inc. – was not as wonderful as the first.

“I knew the sponsorship situation,” Clauson said, “and some of the decisions that were being made were not good for that. So, I kind of saw it coming. We went into the office and talked about it.”

Clauson left the office as a 19-year-old unemployed race car driver.

In 2009, it was back to USAC and sprint cars to pursue a job in any kind of series which would allow him to race for a living. He would go on to win the overall USAC driver’s championship at 21 and that earned him a scholarship to compete in INDYCAR’s Firestone Indy Lights series.

In 2009, it was back to USAC and sprint cars to pursue a job in any kind of series which would allow him to race for a living. He would go on to win the overall USAC driver’s championship at 21 and that earned him a scholarship to compete in INDYCAR’s Firestone Indy Lights series.

The deal may be signed, sealed, and delivered as soon as this week, and most likely with Sarah Fisher Hartman racing.

A ride in the most important race in the world would be a testimonial to keeping career plans flexible. After getting a taste, he could have clung to the NASCAR hope. He probably could have slipped back into that pool of talented drivers who sit around and hope the phone rings. He probably could have found work in ARCA or, perhaps, as racing temp. He might have been able to land a start-and park-job in Cup, Nationwide or Camping World.

Nevertheless, Clauson was flexible enough to step back, take a deep breath, and return to the open wheel racing in USAC.  He returned to the midwest racing USAC midgets, sprint cars, and sliver crown cars.  By doing so Clauson upped his stock as a race car driver.  Additionally, he has shown the open wheel racing teams of IndyCars that he is a good candidate, as well as a fast open wheel race car driver!

I have watched Bryan race at the Bellville Midget Nationals, at Knoxville and Oscaloosa in sprint cars, and last October at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the Indy Lights.  It is my opinion that Clauson would make a good fit with some IndyCar race team.  He is young and a proven winner in all three UASC dirt car racing series.

Good luck in IndyCar racing!

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

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