Three-time Indianapolis 500 starter Bryan Clauson has died as a result of the injuries sustained during a midget car crash last weekend.
The twenty-seven-year-old had been airlifted to hospital following a horror crash at Belleville High Banks in Kansas on Saturday night, with the American racer later succumbing to his injuries.
Clauson had compete in three Indy 500’s, the most recent coming in May when he finished twenty-third for Dale Coyne Racing, the first time he saw the chequered flag.
“Last night, the 7th of August, we said goodbye to our son, my fiance, our friend, Bryan Clauson,” said a statement from Clauson’s family. “He was surrounded by family and friends and we were grateful that we could experience his final moments with him.
“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.
“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.
“We would like to thank everybody who has shown their concern toward us and kept us in their prayers. We will never be able to truly thank you.
“We would also like to thank the staff at Bryan Medical Center who stood and fought with our Bryan since he arrived here early yesterday morning.
“We know that our Bryan is also your Bryan and that you would like to participate in honouring him. A service will be held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at a date and time to be announced soon.”
Mark Miles, the CEO of Hulman & Co., the parent of INDYCAR and Indianapolis Motor Speedway, insisted it was a sad day for motorsport, feeling that Clauson was an outstanding talent behind the wheel of a motor car, regardless of the format the young American was competing in.
“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 Miles.
“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.”
Art St. Cyr, the president of Honda Performance Development felt Clauson was a highly talented race car driver, and his performances across many different motorsports earned him the respect of many of the motorsport fraternity.
“The highest praise we can give Bryan Clauson is that he was a ‘racer’s racer’,” said St. Cyr. “Whether on a quarter-mile dirt oval or at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, his talent and personality was appreciated by fans and respected by competitors throughout the racing world.
“All of us at Honda and Honda Performance Development mourn his passing, and extend our heartfelt sympathies to his fiancée, Lauren Stewart; his parents, Tim and Diana; his sister Taylor; and his many, many friends and fans.”
Dale Coyne, who gave Clauson his final Indy 500 outing in the 100th running of the event, believes his death will leave a void in the lives of everyone who knew him.
“Our heartfelt feelings go out to Bryan’s family, his fiancée Lauren and all that had the luck to get to know Bryan,” said Coyne. “He was a true racer and a great person. His death leaves a void in all of us that got to know him.”
Pippa Mann, who was a team-mate at Dale Coyne Racing at Indianapolis in May, was grateful to get to know Clauson, and admitted she was heartbroken over his passing, and was looking forward to competing alongside him once again in the 2017 Indianapolis 500.
“Dear BC, thank you for being my team mate this past May,” said Mann on her official Facebook page. “I never really knew you until we worked together, but I enjoyed it so much, I was counting down the days until we could do it again next May.
“I am so grateful that I got to know you better, could call you my friend, and that I got to come watch you race on dirt – your home turf. I am grateful I got to see you rack up one of your many Ws that night, and I am so glad you grabbed a photo with me before I left. I wish I had asked you to sign it.
“I am heartbroken for your family, for Lauren, for your closest friends, and yes, for Chevy and Stuart who will miss you too, but I am also heartbroken for myself.
“I will miss you. Dale Coyne Racing will miss you. USAC will miss you. IndyCar Series and the #Indy500 will miss you. The fans will miss you. You touched us all, we will all miss you, and we will all remember you.
“Rest in peace my friend.”