From Dick Jordan, image courtesy of TWC Photo
Bryan Clauson, USAC’s 2010 National Driver Champion, will seek back-to-back victories in two of America’s major traditional racing events May 27 as Indianapolis, Ind. celebrates the 100th anniversary of the prestigious Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.
“BC’s Bandwagon,” a cooperative effort between INDYCAR, USAC and race organizers at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, will offer race fans a unique opportunity to watch Clauson go for the “double.” A special ticket package will include tickets to Miller Lite Carb Day at IMS, a parking pass and IMS food vouchers, a Hoosier Hundred reserved grandstand seat and pit pass, plus a round-trip bus pass from IMS to the State Fairgrounds and an autographed Bryan Clauson hero card. The bus will depart IMS at 3:30 pm and return at 10:30 pm from Lot 3 (the INDYCAR office). The price for the “BC’s Bandwagon” package is $48 per person (a $102 value). Miller Light Carb Day ticket holders can also receive a $5 discount at the gate for the Hoosier Hundred. To order the “BC’s Bandwagon” package, go to https://imstix.brickyard.com/promotions and use ROADTOINDY in the package code, then select “BC’s Bandwagon, or contact the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Group Sales at
Clauson, the Noblesville, Ind. driver who recorded 10 USAC feature victories in 2010 on his way to the National title and added the 2010 USAC Mopar National Midget crown, also was named to the 2010 American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters (AARWBA) First-Team All America.
On May 27, as part of his USAC National Driver Championship, package, he will compete in the Firestone Indy Lights “Freedom 100” on Miller Light Carb Day at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Later that night he will also compete in the prestigious “Hoosier Hundred” USAC Silver Crown Championship race at the Indiana State Fairgrounds. The pavement-dirt combo offers a distinct challenge to the 21-year-old, although seven of his 2010 National victories came on dirt and three on pavement.
“The Freedom 100 weekend is a weekend I’ve had circled on my calendar from the time USAC and INDYCAR announced the partnership,” says Clauson. “The opportunity to race at IMS is something I dreamed of as a kid growing up in the Indy area. This whole scholarship is being touted as getting back to the old days, the days where your short track stars became your Indy 500 stars. To have the opportunity to run the Freedom 100 and the Hoosier 100 all in the same day is really cool, and a real throwback proposition. It has been a long time since fans have been able to see someone race at the speedway, and a local dirt track all in the same weekend, let alone in one day! It will be a long afternoon, but what in the world is cooler than running an Indy-type car at the mecca of motorsports the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, then hurrying over to the Indy Fairgrounds to race in one of USAC’s most tradition filled races, the Hoosier 100. Hopefully I won’t be the only one doing the
double that night, and the fans will come out and join me in completing the double!!!”
Jay Drake might be Clauson’s best source of advice as he plans for the “double.” Drake, USAC’s 2004 National Sprint Car Champion and father of USAC’s 2010 National Ford Focus Champion Nick, competed in both races on the same day in 2005, finishing third in the Freedom 100 and fourth that night in the Hoosier Hundred.
“Things sometime come full circle,” admits Jay, who once competed in the Indy Lights on the IMS road course and flew with Chip Ganassi to Eldora Speedway that night to race a USAC Sprint car on dirt. “Bryan was involved in Chip’s development program that year and Chip wanted to see Bryan race at Eldora,” says Jay. “We helicoptered to Eldora but couldn’t land because we had to wait until they flew a driver to the hospital who had crashed in practice. The driver was Bryan.
“I’m not sure Bryan needs any advice from me on this opportunity. He’s very versatile, having raced in all of USAC’s National series and done more than one race in a day several times. I think the biggest challenge will be to focus on which car he’s in and being confident of his team and his equipment. Plus, the added challenge of the time frame. That was one thing I was worried about, but I was able to drive to the Fairgrounds and still have time to switch over to the dirt race. Obviously when I did both on the same day, I had already competed in the Indy Lights at IMS the previous year, but not on the same day as the Hoosier Hundred. That helped. He and I both share the advantage of racing for Tony Stewart, who was a big help, but the change from the 190-mph-plus speeds at Indy to the 100-plus speeds on the dirt is significant and you have to adjust mentally. It’s truly a mind game and it makes for a long day.
“I think Bryan will have the same feeling I did when I first drove down that long straightaway at Indy. It was really neat, realizing a lifelong ambition. I was fortunate to do it for the first time on a practice day and then doing it on race day was really cool.”
At least four USAC graduates have gone on to win in the Firestone Indy Lights Series. Silver Crown, Sprint and Midget graduate Ed Carpenter won the inaugural Freedom 100 in 2003 and open-wheel star Aaron Fike won the same year at Pikes Peak International Raceway. Formula Ford 2000 participant Arie Luyendyk Jr. won at Chicagoland in 2008. Last year, USAC Midget graduate Brandon Wagner won the series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Additonal information regarding these races can be found at www.usacracing.com or www.trackenterprises.com or www.indycar.com or by calling USAC at 317-247-5151, Track Enterprises at 217-764-3200 or INDYCAR at 317-492-6526.