Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Six Quick Questions With Bryan Clauson

It's no stretch to say Bryan Clauson is getting ready for the biggest month of his racing career, but the two-time USAC National Champion did manage to squeeze in an appearance for our Six Quick Questions. The Noblesville, Indiana native and Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing driver discussed his feelings on his first 500, the transition in driving the DW12, and representing USAC on a big stage:

Thanks again for your time, Bryan. It's been a long and winding road that's brought you to the Indianapolis 500. When did it first sink in that you were going to be a part of the Indy 500's Month of May?

BC: I'm not sure that it has really sank in yet honestly. It has been such a grind to get to this point, that once we got the program put together, its just been nonstop work ever since. [Bryan Clauson] Community Day was really neat and a great way for me to kick off the month. I think at some point that day is when it all really sank in. Having all my friends and family along with some amazing fan support in one place to celebrate this opportunity kind of did it for me. I remember standing there looking around thinking man this is really going to happen. It is a crazy feeling!

What are your thoughts on the DW12 as a racing machine? It seems quite a bit different than what you're used to driving.

BC: The DW12 was great to drive in Texas. Having a limited amount of time in the car so far, maybe I'm still looking at it with rose colored glasses. The team at SFHR prepare amazing race cars, and I got the opportunity at Texas to experience that. It's hard to really guage how a car is going to race when you are testing by yourself. The ballgame changes completely when you are running around other car and not being able to take full advantage of the aero abilities of the car. I'm definitely looking forward to learning what the DW12 likes and dislikes as we progress throughout the month at Indy.

What sort of driving skills transfer from sprints and midgets to INDYCAR, and what needs to be learned?

BC: I think what USAC does to prepare drivers for the next level is it teaches you adaptability. To be a USAC Champion you have to be good in so many different cars in so many different environments, that if you can't adjust quickly, you will get left behind. The car control you learn is something that you will take along in any form of motorsports you progress to. The biggest thing to learn while transitioning into the Indy Car is the aero piece of the puzzle. Aerodynamics play such a huge role in making an Indy Car work and go fast. You have to constantly be thinking about what you are doing and how it affects the aero platform and balance of the car. It is just a different mindset and there is a bit of a learning curve there while making the switch.

Clauson: USAC's envoy to this year's Indy 500.
(Courtesy IndyCar Media)
The Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing team has a reputation for being a very close-knit, family-style operation. What's been your experience so far in working with them?

BC: The SFHR group is a very tight knit group. Their team chemistry is unbelievable. I knew the moment I walked into the shop for the first time that this was the place that I needed to be. I'm a firm believer in needing to surround yourself with great people in order to be successful. I don't think you will find a better group of people in the garage then what we have at SFHR. I think we as a team are going to make some noise this month!

Going into the Month of May and your chance at the biggest race in the world, can you explain what you're feeling?

BC: In short.... No. The range of emotion is slightly overwhelming. I've been fortunate to be able to have a lot of opportunities as a race car driver. This business is full of highs and lows. I'm proud to have been able to fight through everything that I've faced and be sitting here days away from starting the biggest month of my life. The 500 has been a lifelong dream, its a race I grew up dreaming about. The month of May is always special in Indy, but this month of May will be an extra special time for not only myself, but my friends, my family and short track racing.

Do you think your presence at Indy this month can make any sort of statement about USAC, and if so, what sort of statement would that be?

BC: Well I hope that we can go out and have a month that everyone in USAC can be proud of. USAC racing is something that I love and that I am very passionate about so to have the opportunity to represent that form of racing on the biggest stage in motorsports is a pretty cool feeling. Hopefully at the end of the month we can remind people that USAC guys can still get the job done at Indy, and maybe prop that door open for the future.

(Don't forget to download our updated Indy 500 entry list pdf! It should represent the most up-to-date entrant information, based on what we know now).


  1. Josef newgarden is from about 45 miles down the road from my house so there is no doubt that ill be pulling for both him and this fine young man to not only do well in this year's 500 but for both to have long productive careers in Indy Car Racing

    1. Most definitely. They'll be an easy team to pull for this month, and hopefully beyond.