Some boys grow up throwing baseballs with their dads. Others go with their fathers to the racecar track.
Sprint car driver Andy Forsberg says he and Carmichael native Bryan Clauson were in the latter group. Clauson died Sunday as a result of injuries sustained in a crash during the Belleville Midget Nationals race Saturday evening in Belleville, Kansas. He was 27-years-old.
“My dad raced with his father back in the 90s, and I can remember talking to Tim [Clauson] about wanting to take his son back East to make him the next Jeff Gordon,” Forsberg said. “He did a really good job with that. Bryan was a professional racecar driver – Indy 500, NASCAR – he had made his mark for sure.”
The Belleville race was part of Clauson’s “Chasing 200” tour. Clauson was attempting to make history with a daunting schedule of 200 races – races in which he used a variety of different cars, including wing sprint cars, non-winged sprint cars and midget cars.
Forsberg remembers Clauson as a prodigious driver and a nice guy.
“Just like the rest of us. It’s dog-eat-dog on the race track, and then afterwards you’re all best friends,” Forsberg said.
In a post on Clauson’s professional Facebook page, his fiancée Lauren Stewart wrote, “Our Bryan fought to the end with the same desire that he demonstrated behind the wheel … However we were more proud of our Bryan that took a moment to make a young fan’s day or demonstrated his uncommon kindness and appreciation toward his friends, family and fans.”
Clauson’s death is hard for all drivers, Forsberg said. But the latest fatal crash won’t stop the 40-year-old driver from racing again soon.
“Every now and then it happens. It’s in the pit of your stomach, and I don’t want to sound heartless, but you just kind of go on … Crummy things happen in life, and you just keep on keeping on,” Forsberg said.
Forsberg was also remembered by other racing luminaries on social media, including Danica Patrick, Dale Coyne and Kasey Kahne.
It's surreal to think Bryan Clauson is gone. He was one of the good ones. He was kind, funny, and a damn good driver. Heavy heart today.🙏🏼— Danica Patrick (@DanicaPatrick) August 8, 2016
Bryan Clauson was as good as they get behind the wheel and one of the nicest, happiest guys around. Always smiling and enjoying life... #bc— Kasey Kahne (@kaseykahne) August 8, 2016