Racing prodigy Bryan Clauson died Sunday after injuries he sustained during a fiery car crash at the 39th Belleville Midget Nationals in Kansas the day before, TMZ reported. He was 27 years old.
The accident occurred after Clauson’s car crashed into another vehicle. It flipped several times. It was then hit by another car on the track, which caused Clauson’s car to become engulfed in flames.
Video of the tragedy shows the crowd screaming in horror after the driver’s car was hit for a second time. The other drivers stopped their vehicles so Clauson could be helped.
He was airlifted to the hospital, but died the next day. His family issued a statement after the fatal wreck.
“Our Bryan fought to the end with the same desire that he demonstrated behind the wheel of all the various race cars he would park in victory lane,” the statement read. “However, we were more proud of our Bryan that took a moment to make a young fan's day, or demonstrated his uncommon kindness and appreciation toward his friends, family and fans.”
NASCAR champion Tony Stewart, who was friends with Clauson, also issued a statement. “It’s a tragedy. That kid drove for us for a long time and did a great job. I don’t care what happened, no matter how bad his day was, he always found a way to smile with it,” he told NBC Sports Sunday. “Him and Lauren being engaged; kid had such a bright future.”
“It was hard to start the day today in the car,” Stewart said about racing at Watkins Glen International. “It sucks when it’s anybody in racing. It’s hard when you lose them, but it’s even worse when they’re somebody as close to you as Bryan was. I feel for Lauren (Clauson’s fiancée) today and Bryan’s parents and his sister, and I hope to be able to see them soon, but just thinking about them more than anything right now.”
Clauson’s fiancée, Lauren Stewart, has not yet released an individual statement.
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