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.”