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Thoughts

Bryan Clauson at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 100th running of the Indy 500. [Andy Clary Photo]

Bryan Clauson at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the 100th running of the Indy 500. [Andy Clary Photo]

We were sitting around the campfire at Road America on Saturday night when I got the text.

Of my first thoughts, one was, “Oh no, not him”.

It’s a stupid thought, and I think it is ridiculous that I have that thought when this type of news comes in.

There is not a name that could be included in the news when I wouldn’t think “not him” or “not her”.

Once again, we have lost another racer.

This time it was Brian Clauson, a 27 year old racer from Noblesville, Indiana.

Clauson, the youngest winner in USAC history, was the true definition of a racer. This season he was on a quest to compete in 200 races this year. So far he had completed 115 races and won 27 of them. Included in those 200 events was the 39th Belleville Midget Nationals, in Belleville, Kansas, where he was the defending champion and a three time winner of the event. Clauson was leading when the accident occurred.

Clauson was a superstar USAC driver with four championships and is fifth on the all-time list with 112 feature victories. Showing his talents in a stock car, he won in the ARCA series and scored a top five finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Including this year’s event, Clauson raced in the Indianapolis 500 three times for three different teams.

I was able to talk with Clauson at a media event at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway prior to the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500, a race that he would lead the 100th lap. Clauson lit up when I asked him about his 200 race quest and laughed about the schedule he set up for himself during the preparation to run of one of the most prestigious events of all motorsports. While others gathered around the tables of the regulars of the IndyCar Series, I had all the time in the world for conversation about racing life. That was one of my highlights of the month of May. Unfortunately, now that memory takes on greater significance.

So, I guess this time, the thought that I hate to have was a little bit understandable.

I hate that thought for so many reasons.

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John Wiedemann is the owner, editor and developer of the RacingNation.com website.

A motorsports fan from his earliest memories, John started going to local short tracks and the Milwaukee Mile with his parents, brother and sister. John enjoys drivers racing side by side and battling for the same piece of real estate on the racetrack as much as he appreciates the technical aspects of the sport.