Bryan Clauson, who led three laps at this year’s Indianapolis 500, died on Sunday as a result of a weekend crash in a midget-car race.
Clauson’s midget car rode the rail into several flips at the Belleville High Banks in Belleville, Kansas, on Saturday night before Ryan Greth struck his vehicle. The accident started on the approach to what’s called turn four on the half-mile dirt track whose ring shape makes almost the entire course a turn. The track boasts 23-degree embankments similar to a velodrome.
“Our Bryan fought to the end with the same desire that he demonstrated behind the wheel of all the various race cars he would park in victory lane,” the family explained in a Facebook post. “However, we were more proud of our Bryan that took a moment to make a young fan’s day, or demonstrated his uncommon kindness and appreciation toward his friends, family and fans.”
Clauson competed in three Indianapolis 500s and in 26 NASCAR Xfinity Series races. He won three USAC National Midget Series Championships. Apart from driving as the defending champion of the Belleville Midget Nationals, Clauson led the race at the time of the accident. He aimed to compete in 200 events in 2016.
“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,” Mark Miles CEO of the parent company of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway explained in a statement. “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.”