venerdì 8 gennaio 2016

200 races in a year: the wonderful chase of Bryan Clauson

This is a story of motorsports coming far, far away from Europe and from Italy (my country). This is a story that reminds the glorious past of racing, when many drivers jumped in different cars on every weekend. This is the story of Bryan Clauson.

Let's start with a few information about him... Bryan Clauson was born on June 15th (1989) at Carmichael (California), but he spent his childhood at Noblesville (Indiana), 30 miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the most famous oval track in the world. In 2016 Bryan will try to achieve an enormous target. Our man will start over 200 races from January 1st to December 31th. On average he will run a race every 44 hours.

The official name is "The Chasing 200 Tour - Circular Insanity". Finding the meaning it's simple: Bryan will race almost entirely on ovals, mostly in dirt tracks.

Bryan Clauson has already won the USAC National Midget Series (two times), the USAC National Sprint Car Series (twice) an the USAC National Drivers Championship (three times); In 2016 he will race in different championships, with winged cars and non-winged ones. But it will be there a notable exception. In May the driver from Noblesville will attempt the qualification for the 100th Indy 500. The Jonathan Byrd's Racing will be his team for the entire season, but in Indianapolis they will be also helped technically by KVSH.

"My main goal for 2016 is to complete the Chasing 200 tour" - says Bryan - "I have over 200 races scheduled for 2016 that include many of short track racings biggest events in all different forms of dirt track racing. It will be a tall task but a lot of effort and planning has gone into this season, and I am looking forward to racing more than ever before!"

After his two previous experiences, Clauson will attempt the qualification at Indy also in 2016. For him is not a normal race...
"Racing the Indianapolis 500 is one of the greatest achievements of my racing career. Indy is such a special place and the 500 is such a special event to be a part of. I grew up around the area, so May has always been a special month my entire life. In terms of getting the opportunity, the first year I ran (2012) we had to work really hard to put together the funding to make it happen. 2015 was a bit of a different story. The Byrd family found me in 2014 and put together a comprehensive platform that can be seen across all of our racing endeavors. I really didn't do any work on the money side of things for 2015".

Clauson has already experienced Indycar, so he can give a trusted opinion to judge the series - now growing in Europe thanks to the increasing interest brought by the media. "Indycar has become the fortunate beneficiary of a lot of young talent that left the European Ladder. I think the young talent in Indy Car is as good as its ever been. I believe to some degree thats also what hurts Indy Car in the American Demographic. There are several talented young americans in the field, the problem is they grew up racing in Europe. People in the U.S. have no connection. That’s where NASCAR got it right when it was booming: people were tuning in to see the people they grew up watching at the local track on Saturday night. In Indycar it doesn't happen anymore".

Bryan Clauson raced in NASCAR in 2008 (Nationwide Series), with some good results like the Pole Position at Daytona (in the Winn-Dixie 250 Powered by Coca-Cola) and a fifth place at Kentucky Speedway, both reached with the Ganassi team. "[NASCAR] It’s not anything I’m actively pursing. Obviously if the right opportunity came along I’d love to take another crack at it. I feel like I have some unfinished business, but I am extremely happy doing what I’m doing. I make a comfortable living and completely enjoy going to the race track and strapping in each and every night!"

In the last five years Bryan achieved his best results. He's not only a championship frontrunner, but also a great single-race winner. His win at the 2014 Chili Bowl (named also the "Super Bowl of Midget racing" and attended by big names of NASCAR, Indycar and NHRA) was one of the brightest point in his career. An event like this is not present in the European panorama of Motorsports, while in North America is not the only one. Sure the tipology of racing is quite different, but from the money "point of view" Europe and US are similar. Here's the thought of Bryan about the topic: "I think motorsport is like anything in life. It's all about timing. The right performance in front of the right person in the crowd could be life changing. There are only so many professional seats left in motorsport and they continue to dwindle. The sport has evolved into more of a business and money has become as much of a prerequisite as talent is in a lot of cases. At the end of the day you have to race because you love to race. If you get caught up in worrying about the bright lights and superstardom, it makes the trek to the top that much more grueling. I prefer to race without that type of pressure".

It will be an incredible year for Bryan, not only on the race tracks but also in his normal life. He will travel a lot, staying far from home for a long time. "I haven’t actually counted the days I will be gone, but I’ve grown accustomed to life on the road. We will have an RV that will serve as our “home away from home” and will make being gone a little bit easier. You learn to adapt as it is part of the job, but having my dogs (Chevy has a Twitter account...) and my girlfriend Lauren on the road with me full-time certainly makes being away a lot easier".

Thanks, Bryan. My blog was born to tell wonderful motorsport stories like this. And even if this one is literally far from my country, it's still a good story.

*** Thanks for proof-reading, Milly_Sunshine! ***

2 commenti:

  1. So wish they raced midget cars in UK and Europe.....

    1. The best we have it's FIA European Autocross, but it's sooo different...