At the age of 27, Bryan Clauson had already accomplished more in his racing career than most drivers even dream of accomplishing in their lifetime.
His determination behind the wheel of a racecar was incredible as he chased after wins.
Clauson always found a way to win.
Coming into the 2016 racing season, Clauson set out to do something many considered insane. He scheduled himself to compete in 200 races in a single season.
Let me put this into perspective: Most local racers will compete in 30 races in a single season, while racers on the professional level may compete in 100.
His “Chasing 200” tour was dubbed “Circular Insanity.”
This grueling schedule included venues all throughout the world from New Zealand all the way to Indianapolis, where he competed in the Indianapolis 500.
His 117th race of the season was the “Belleville Midget Nationals” in Belleville, Kansas.
Coming into this event he had 27 feature wins to his credit on the season.
On the 14th lap of the 40-lap event, Clauson was leading when he flipped his car and was struck by a competitor at full speed.
The violent wreck caused injuries that eventually claimed Clauson’s life.
The racing community was left numb, overwhelmed with disbelief and shock.
Like many who were fortunate enough to know Clauson, I will remember him for something rather than his talent behind the wheel.
Clauson’s personality was unparalleled. To this day, I know very few people who are as easy to like as Clauson.
Clauson always had a smile on his face — no matter what.
He never turned down the opportunity for conversation and was always eager to accept interviews from me while I covered his events.
His passion for the sport was evident in our talks together.
But more importantly, Clauson’s passion for living life to the fullest stood out to me the most.
While he was living out his dreams, he was still chasing more. Always eager for a new challenge and never getting discouraged with minor setbacks.
One positive I can pull from this tragedy is that Clauson’s legacy will live on for generations to come.
While he still had so much to give on the racetrack, his impact off the track is what will shine on forever in the hearts of many.
Clauson was a true ambassador to the sport of auto racing in addition to being a role model to so many.
We all need to be a little more like Bryan Clauson.
Live life to the fullest, express gratitude to others, and always chase what drives us. I’m forever thankful that I witnessed the glory days of our sport, as there will never be another Bryan Clauson in my lifetime.
Ryan Bowling is a contributing sports writer for The Tribune. Send comments