By Dick Jordan
Bryan Clauson of Noblesville, Ind. is the mid-season leader for the 2010 USAC National Drivers Championship, worth a $40,000 bonus at season’s end. Clauson is 21 points ahead of Levi Jones and 38 ahead of Jerry Coons Jr. following the recent Indiana Sprint Week events.
Drivers earn National Drivers Championship points in each USAC National event in which they compete. The top-25 scores count toward the championship, with a maximum of 49 points available at each event (49 for a victory, including a five-point bonus). Points decrease by two per position behind the winner (i.e. 42 for second, 40 for third, etc.), with a minimum of two for last place.
The National Drivers Champion will be awarded with a year-end payout of $40,000 for the first place alone. A large fund has been established for the top 10 finishing competitors of the National Driving Championship. The total point fund for the three National series combined is being increased by 35% in 2010, with the increase benefitting both car owners and drivers with USAC’s 50/50 points fund structure.
“It’s obviously really cool to be at the head of the class in something new,” Bryan admits. “This is a big deal with, all the money USAC has posted for this championship. I know I have three seasoned veterans breathing down my neck and it will be hard to hold them off, but I finished last year with a strong finish and hope to be able to do that again. The biggest thing is winning races. The bonus for wins is huge and that’s my focus, to win as many races as I can. That should be enough to hold off the challengers. I had a pretty good Indiana Midget Week and a pretty good Indiana Sprint Week and that helped. I’m looking forward to this week, with Terre Haute and ORP both places I’ve done well but I think the driver with the most wins in the second half of the season will probably end up with the National Drivers Championship. I hope that’s me!”
Clauson, who has 15 podium finishes this year (top-three), has averaged more than 40 points in his best 25 scores. He has six feature victories, four seconds and five thirds combined in the Silver Crown, AMSOIL National Sprint Car and Mopar National Midget Series.
Jones, of Olney, Ill., has a dozen podium finishes, including seven victories, three seconds and a pair of thirds. Coons, of Tucson, Ariz., has also been on the podium a dozen times, with two wins, five seconds and five thirds.
Clauson, Coons and Tracy Hines are the only three drivers who currently rank in the top-10 in all three National series standings. Hines is 62 behind Clauson, fourth in the National Drivers Championship.
“The new National Drivers Championship has been established to bring fan focus to our top drivers and allow for expanded marketing efforts,” stated Kevin Miller, CEO of USAC Racing. “During 2009, we ran a parallel points structure which proved to have a close top 10 race and dramatic finish for the season. This now allows a competitor with just a dirt sprint car or midget, or one with a pavement concentration, to compete for a USAC Championship.”
USAC Championships have a storied past and are recognized among the sports most iconic thresholds. Past USAC National Champions include Mario Andretti, A.J. Foyt, Al and Bobby Unser, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne.