Bryan Clauson caught the racing bug at an early age. He started racing at age 5 in Quarter Midgets and go-karts and he gives credit to his Dad for supporting him from day one. “My dad used to race and he’s really been there for me since the beginning,” Bryan reminisces. “And even now, he’s at every race to support me.”
Just after his 16th birthday, Bryan made his first USAC Sprint Car start and wowed everyone with a third place finish. It didn’t take long for the USAC crowd to acknowledge that a new star was born and since then, Bryan has yet to disappoint. He’s accumulated over 23 USAC wins including an Indiana Midget Week Championship. In the 2010 season, he was named both USAC National Midget Series Champion and USAC National Driver champion. His National Driver Championship earned him a scholarship to race in INDYCAR’s Firestone Indy Lights Series and Bryan will be racing with Sam Schmidt Motorsports in six ovals this season.
As the Month of May comes to a close, Bryan is redefining the term “race weekend.” Never one to forget his roots, Bryan is still racing full time in all three of USAC’s big series- Silver Crown, Midgets, and Sprints. Which means that not only is he preparing for his first Indy Lights race, he’s also racing on a regular basis in three other series! His double duty comes to a head on race weekend, as Bryan will compete in four races in just three days.
Thurs., May 26, he will be in a Sprint Car in Terre Haute. Friday’s Carb Day will see Bryan in his Indy Lights debut at the Freedom 100. Then later that night, he’ll be at the Indianapolis State Fair Grounds to race in USAC’s Silver Crown opener. As if it isn’t enough, Bryan will wrap up his whirlwind weekend on Saturday in USAC’s Midget race at Lucas Oil Raceway.
So, how does this superdude make it happen? Let’s look at the mental prep, the workout, the food and the music.
Bryan admits that this schedule leaves him stretched pretty thin, but as always, he remains positive. “It’s one of those things that you just have to sit back and relax. For me, it’s more about mentally preparing rather than physically preparing.”
Bryan says he tries to just clear his head between each race to be in a different mindset for each car. “I know the Midgets and Sprints so well that I can usually get into those mindsets pretty quickly,” he explains. However an IndyCar is a whole other beast. “I watched a lot of tapes to get used to an IndyCar. For the Sprints it’s all about focusing on the end because it’s a shorter race. But the IndyCars you have to think about how the car is going to run the entire 100 miles, in the draft, and in a pack of other cars.” Bryan also laments Mother Nature’s lack of cooperation this month and how much practice time has been cut short because of it.
So, besides the mental aspect, how does a guy get himself physically ready for four races in three days? Not by hitting the gym (obviously he doesn’t have much time for a regular workout routine). Bryan says that being in a race car 100 times a year is enough of a work out for him.
Another thing that goes out the window when you’re constantly on track? Sleep. Bryan admits he rarely has time for a good breakfast. “I usually try to sleep in as much as possible on race day, which means I’m grabbing a granola bar or pop tart on the way out the door.” Not exactly a Breakfast of Champions, but clearly it’s working pretty well for BC!
Finally, Bryan says his race day soundtrack is crucial to getting him in the right mindset. “Sometimes I’ll put on some Eminem if I need to get really amped up.” However he says that the adrenaline and nerves are usually already there and need to be calmed down. That’s when he turns to his favorite genre. “I’m a big country music fan. It relaxes me and always puts me in a good frame of mind.”
Every time I talk to Bryan or see him around the track, I am more and more impressed by his calm, friendly demeanor. For someone who has a lot of pressure riding on his shoulders at such a young age, Bryan seems to take it all in stride. You can tell that it really is all about racing with this guy. He’s focused, talented and humble- and it’s paying off big time for him. Get used to seeing him because he’s not going anywhere…well, except for several winner’s circles. Check out his special ticket package for Carb Day and other great deals on the Benefits and Offers page on INDYCAR Nation. KRISTIN SLEVIN- BSU Student/USAC Insider/INDYCAR Nation Juggernaut of Joy/@kristinmarie935