Gifted dirt track racer and part-time IndyCar driver Bryan Clauson has died following injuries he suffered at the Belleville Midget Nationals in Kansas.
Clauson was airlifted to Bryan Medical Centre West in Lincoln, Nebraska, following the horrific shunt.
His death was announced officially at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in what is described as one of the blackest days in USAC history.
“This is certainly a sad day for the racing community as a whole, and on behalf of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we send our deepest condolences to the family of Bryan Clauson,” Mark Miles, chief executive of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, said.
“Anybody who witnessed Bryan behind the wheel of a race car can attest to his elite ability, relentlessness and unbridled willingness to race anything on wheels.
“While he’ll be remembered most as a legend of short-track racing, his participation in the Indianapolis 500 exemplifies his fearlessness, true versatility as a competitor and the pure depth of his talent as a driver.”
With 112 wins, Clauson had occupied fifth on the all-time USAC list which solidified his immense ability.
Clauson had just taken the lead on lap 14 of 40 when he clipped a lapped car, causing him to flip several times before coming to rest in the middle of the track.
He was then t-boned by Ryan Greth who was left with no time to react.
The 27-year-old Indiana-based Clauson was a short track specialist, who was well liked by fellow competitors.
Clauson was passionate about his racing, maintaining a hectic schedule that saw him chalk-up 116 race starts this season which has included 27 victories.
At the Indianapolis 500 in May, Clauson led for three laps in his Dale Coyne Racing entry before finishing the 200-lap classic in 23rd.
His career highlights included double USAC National Sprint Car titles, two-times USAC National Midget Champion, 3-times USAC National Driver’s Champion, 36 USAC National Midget wins and a three-times Belleville Midget Nationals Champion.
He was also the polesitter at the Freedom 100 Indy Lights race at Indianapolis in 2011 and this year completed his third start in the Indy 500.
Clauson is survived by his parents, Tim and Di, his sister Taylor and fiancée Lauren Stewart.
Funeral arrangements are yet to be confirmed.