Racing driver and dirt-track specialist Bryan Clauson was airlifted out of the Belleville Midget Nationals race tonight after his car hit the guard rail, flipped and was t-boned by another competitor, per Racer. Belleville’s feature race was red flagged as a result.
The accident occurred as Clauson caught up to lapped traffic, according to Racer’s report:
Starting ninth, Clauson had just taken the lead from Chad Boat and was starting to pull away when he encountered lapped traffic on the lightning-quick half-mile dirt track. The 27-year-old resident of Noblesville got stuffed into the fence by a lapped car and went into a series of snap rolls before landing on his side, at which point he was struck in the cockpit by an oncoming car at a high rate of speed.
It took rescue workers 30 minutes to cut Clauson out of his damaged vehicle. Clauson is breathing on his own, according to a family member who spoke with Racer. USAC has not made any official updates on Clauson’s condition, however, several tweets from those watching the race say he is in critical condition. [Clauson died following the crash Sunday night; see update below.]
Earlier this week at Belleville, Clauson was involved in a hard hit on the last lap of night 1 of the races there that left him sore but otherwise unharmed, per an update on the Bryan Clauson Racing Facebook page. Clauson has won three times at Belleville in the past.
Clauson is a racer’s racer if there ever was one. He’s appeared in IndyCar, NASCAR and myriad dirt track races, and even made a recent appearance on Jalopnik to coach Raphael Orlove through Eldora.
This year, Clauson committed to running 200 races, and tonight’s race at Belleville was number 117. Our thoughts are with Clauson for a quick recovery.
UPDATE: The American Racing Drivers Club tweeted that Clauson is in stable condition, per race officials:
Video of the crash has also surfaced, showing Clauson’s car rolling several times along the wall and going airborne when upon impact with another car.
[Warning: video shows a fatal incident.]