Organ donors can get discounted tickets and honor a fallen driver at Jacksonville Speedway tonight.
Last August, 27-year old Bryan Clauson, regarded as one of the most prolific sprint car drivers in the country, had his life cut short in a racing accident at the Belleville Midget Nationals in Kansas.
Clauson, who had raced and won at tracks around the country, had also took home the checkered flag in Jacksonville, the hometown of his fiance Lauren Stewart.
Though his death was very much tragic and unexpected, Clauson happened to be an organ donor, and after his passing, ended up donating five organs, including his heart. Given the fact that Clauson also competed in the Indianapolis 500 three times, plus his story of saving lives through organ donation, his story caught the attention of ESPN.
This past Monday, on the morning before the race, ESPN aired a story on Clauson on their show “SC Featured.”
We had the chance to catch up with Clauson’s fiance, Jacksonville native Lauren Stewart, who talks about how ESPN initially contacted the family.
“The Indiana Donor Network is who set up everything with ESPN and SC Featured series. We are involved with the Indiana Donor Network through the Driven 2 Save Lives campaign, which started in honor of Justin Wilson, who was an Indy car driver who died in an accident at Pocono. And last year, they did an SC Featured piece on Justin’s brother who ran in the 100th running of the Indy 500 last year in honor of his brother Justin. So when the Driven 2 Save Lives campaign expanded in honor of Bryan this year, the producer on the SC Featured piece contacted Indiana Donor Network and said ‘Hey, I’d love to do another piece,’ so that’s kind of how it came about,” says Stewart.
Stewart says there’s been tremendous outpouring of support from the racing community.
“I can’t believe that it’s been ten months since Bryan’s accident, because the love and support from the racing community hasn’t gone away, and it hasn’t gotten any less than it was on August 8th, and that’s really, really incredible. I keep waking up and think, one day we’re going to go without tweets or without stories, or I’m going to go without a merchandise online order, and so far it hasn’t happened, so the racing community has been really incredible, really supportive during this time,” Stewart says.
Stewart explains how she got in contact with Kenny Dobson of Jacksonville Speedway to honor Clauson at tonight’s races, and says that in a way, Jacksonville was like a second home to Bryan.
“Kenny Dobson from the racetrack called me earlier last week and said ‘Hey, our midgets are coming to town and I can’t help but think of Bryan, and think that Bryan would probably be racing with us tonight, I really want to do something special to honor him, I know Bryan raced at hundreds of tracks across the country and I don’t want to think that our track was something special to him,’ but it was, Jacksonville was Bryan’s home away from home because it was my home, it was where I grew up, it was where I was raised,” says Stewart.
Dobson is offering $2 off general admission tickets tonight for those who can show proof of being an organ donor. If you’d like to learn more about Clauson’s story or the “Driven 2 Save Lives” campaign, click here.