Robin Miller’s tribute to Bryan Clauson — ‘Remember him for what he was: A bad-ass race driver’

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NBCSN IndyCar analyst Robin Miller recalls the legacy of and pays a personal tribute to the late Bryan Clauson (Miller’s RACER.com column is also linked here).

The 27-year-old Clauson passed away less than 24 hours after he was involved in a crash during a Midget car race last Saturday in Kansas.

Miller recalls how he first met Clauson over a decade ago at the Chili Bowl in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Not only did Clauson impress Miller right away, he’d continue to impress over the years, including 112 race wins and four USAC championships in Sprint or Midget car racing.

But it was Clauson’s spirit that Miller remembers the most.

“He was so approachable, so humble and so thankful,” Miller said. “He was so good with the fans. He had an ‘Aw, shucks’ grin and was just so easy to like, so easy to cheer for. But I tell you what, when the (helmet) shield went down, he was a bad ass and a fierce competitor.”

If it had four wheels, Clauson could drive it — and do it well. Miller recalls Clauson’s three starts in the Indianapolis 500 and how the California native wanted to prove himself and win the so-called Greatest Spectacle In Racing.

“Graham Rahal said something interesting yesterday,” Miller said. “He said, ‘I think if Clauson had got with the right team and right engineer and had some time and testing, he’d have been a hell of an Indy 500 driver, and I don’t think there’s any doubt about it.’ ”

Like Clauson’s family, friends, fans and competitors, Miller will miss his young friend.

“Bryan Clauson packed a lot of life into 27 years,” Miller said. “He had fun just about every day of his life. He lived on the edge, lived on the loud pedal, nobody held a gun to his head to be a race driver. That’s all he ever wanted to do and did it really damn well for a long time. We’re going to miss him, going to miss that spirit.”

Miller ends his video by recalling Clauson in perhaps the best way any race car driver would like to be remembered as:

“Just remember him for what he was: a bad-ass race driver.”

 

NASCAR mourns Kobe Bryant

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Joining their brethren in other sports, the NASCAR world took to social media upon learning the tragic news of the death of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

Bryant had met a number of NASCAR drivers in his career, including Team Penske’s Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano. They were among a number of NASCAR notables who took to social media to mourn Bryant:

 

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Chad Knaus and wife expecting second child

Photo courtesy Brooke Knaus official Instagram account
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Seven-time NASCAR Cup champion crew chief Chad Knaus and wife Brooke are expecting their second child.

Brooke made the announcement Saturday on her Instagram account.

The couple, already parents to one-year-old son Kip, will soon be adding a daughter to their growing family.

Brooke Knaus’s Instagram post said the baby is due in July.

Kip figured prominently in the baby revelation, coming at the end of mom and dad’s ski run while vacationing in Telluride, Colorado:

 

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Kyle Larson flips, misses finals of Australia’s biggest sprint car race

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Kyle Larson’s hope of following up last week’s Chili Bowl win with a triumph in Australia’s prestigious Grand Annual Sprint Car Classic fell far short Sunday.

Larson’s bid to race his way into the 24-car finals of the three-day race at Premier Speedway in Warrnambool, Australia, ended when he flipped (uninjured) on the opening lap of a last-chance qualifying heat race earlier in the evening.

Instead of being one of the featured drivers in the Classic’s 40-lap finale – the largest and most popular sprint car race of the year in the land down under – Larson was left to watch the event from the pits and cheer on Dyson Motorsport teammate and fellow American Carson Macedo.

Even that didn’t go very well, as Macedo flipped his own sprint car on the first lap of the Classic, resulting in a last-place finish. The highest finishing American was Cory Eliason, who ended up fourth.

Meanwhile, it was an all-Australian podium, with James McFadden winning the Classic for the second time in his career, followed by James Veal and Kerry Madsen.

In eight days, Larson went from capturing what he called the biggest win ever of his racing career on all levels – the Chili Bowl in his 13th try last Saturday in Tulsa, Oklahoma – to nothing but bad luck and utter frustration throughout his Australian journey.

Larson’s first race on Wednesday in the King’s Challenge at Borderline Speedway was rained out.

Then, in the first night of the Classic on Friday, Larson wrecked heavily in his first heat race, including flipping (he was uninjured). After his team repaired his car, Larson went back on the track, only to suffer a blown engine that knocked him out of contention to race in that evening’s feature event.

After not being on the schedule to race in Night 2 of the Classic on Saturday, Larson had one last chance to make Sunday’s featured championship event.

A total of 80 drivers battled it out in the B, C and D Mains for the eight remaining spots in the A Main, but Larson would end up not being one of those — as can be seen in the second line of the following tweet by his team:

Larson now returns to the United States to prepare for the Daytona 500 on February 16.

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Kyle Busch feeling like ‘the new guy’ during his Rolex 24 debut at Daytona

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Kyle Busch was looking forward to his first stint at 6 p.m. Saturday in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The two-time Cup champion was less enthused about his second turn behind the wheel in the IMSA season opener. Busch will climb back into the No. 14 Lexus RCF GT3 at 2 a.m. Sunday, just past the midpoint of the endurance race classic at Daytona International Speedway.

“That’s going to suck, yeah,” Busch deadpanned. “That’s exactly when I told them I did not want to run, and I got it.  Thank you very much.

“(I’m) the new guy.  I pulled the short straw.”

Click here to read more about how Busch felt about his AIM Vasser Sullivan car.