IndyCar All Access’ next guess is USAC champion, newly turned IndyCar driver Bryan Clauson. Clauson ran his first ever IndyCar race at this year’s Indy 500 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing and is the Indy Lights driver for Fan Force United.
Q: Favorite racing memory growing up as a kid?
Well, I still think of myself as a kid, so it’s going to have to be racing in the Indy 500.
Q: Favorite track and why?
In terms of the entire scope of my career to this point, and without just wanting to say Indy, I would definitely have to say that my favorite big track is Iowa Speedway.
It’s a place where I’ve turned a lot of laps and driven a lot of different types of cars, and it seems like no matter what kind of racecar you’re driving, this place is racey and it’s a lot of fun to drive. There’s multiple grooves and you can generally find a place where your car works better. For short tracks, it’s hard to beat Kokomo Speedway. Even a bad night at Kokomo Speedway is good by anyone’s standards.
Q: Do you regret going to NASCAR and do you wish you could have gotten into IndyCars sooner?
Not at all. At the time it would have cost me about a million dollars to go IndyCar racing, so I don’t regret it at all. I actually made out pretty good on the deal from the driver’s side of things. It was a deal where IndyCar was taking checks and NASCAR was writing them for drivers to come drive, so I don’t regret the decision at all. I learned a lot down there and if the opportunity came about, I’d do it again. It wasn’t a bad experience in the least. It was a lot of fun. Obviously the focus for me now is here on the IndyCar side, but it’s not something I look at and think that it was the worst thing that happened to me. It’s definitely not an either/or deal. In terms of getting to IndyCar sooner, I can’t say “yes,” because it would have cost money.
Q: Your thoughts on the attempt to revolt Randy Bernard as INDYCAR CEO?
I don’t really know a lot about it. All I really know is what I’ve read on the internet. What I do know is what I think, and I think Randy has done a lot of good things for the sport and a lot of good things for the series. As much wrath as the new car took at the beginning, I think it’s provided some great racing. That was probably one of the best Indy 500’s in a long time. We’re seeing some of the best road course racing that we’ve seen in a long time. We have engine competition for the first time in a while, so I think that IndyCar as a whole is on an upswing, so it would be hard for somebody like me to make a case against him.
Q: Were you scared at all going into your first Indy 500 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing?
I don’t think scared is the word. Obviously there’s a lot of nerves and anticipation. You can even go to the guys that have won it 2 or 3 times, and they’re still nervous before the start of the 500. It’s a big event and something that I was looking forward to for a long time. I was excited about it for sure, but I think if you’re not a bit nervous going in, then that might be a sign of not caring enough. So I was nervous and excited, and I hope to be able to experience it all again.
Q: Is there any possibility that you’d get more seat time with Fan Force United and with Sarah Fisher Hartman in the IndyCars this season?
The goal is to be back in a big car by the end of the year. Everybody’s working hard towards that common goal, but nothing’s ever a given. If not by the end of this year, then hopefully by next year, and hopefully in time to get ready for the 500.
Q: What do you do off the track as a hobby?
I don’t spend a lot of time off the track. When I’m away from the big cars, I drive little cars. I try to catch some movie. I’m a big sports guy. I love fantasy football. I’ll play some basketball throughout the week when I can, along with doing some golfing and just generally trying to stay active.
We would like to thank Bryan for his time and wish him luck in IndyLights for this season.