Clauson contests racing trifecta at Milwaukee
The busiest driver at the Milwaukee Mile this weekend may just be Firestone Indy Lights competitor Bryan Clauson.
The Noblesville, Ind., driver, who celebrated his 22nd birthday on June 15, will return to the wheel of Sam Schmidt Motorsports/CURB Agajanian's No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/CURB Records car for the David Hobbs 100.
But the second of seven oval events in Clauson's 2011 Firestone Indy Lights campaign is far from the only racing he will do.
Clauson is slated to drive his Tony Stewart Racing car in the 100-mile USAC Traxxas Silver Crown race at Milwaukee on June 18 and his Corey Tucker Racing/BCI/Curb-Agajanian Midget in the 25-mile USAC Mopar National Midget feature that same day.
Between practice sessions, qualifying and three races, Clauson could log more than 400 laps around the 1-mile oval in his various race cars. All which are capable of taking him to victory lane.
"I think I have a great chance to win in all three series," said Clauson, whose only previous experience at Milwaukee was in the NASCAR Nationwide series event in 2008. "Milwaukee is a tricky track and you have to be precise to get through the corners and post good lap times. It's almost like a road course at times, each corner somewhat different.
"Anytime you go to a place where you've run something, it's a lot nicer. You know all the little ins and outs, and the layout of the track, and maybe some of the bumps and other things to look out for. But the three types of cars I'm racing this weekend are so different than the stock, that even the line will be quite different."
Clauson, who comes into the weekend with a 17-point lead over Bobby East in the USAC Midget car standings, finished fifth in his Firestone Indy Lights debut at Indianapolis in May. He said he's up for the challenge of jumping between cars at Milwaukee.
"The challenge of competing in the three races will be fun, with the short 25-lap Midget and long 100-mile Silver Crown distances, but the Indy Lights are a different breed altogether," Clauson said. "This weekend shouldn't be too bad from the standpoint that everything is broken up pretty nicely. We'll kind of get in USAC mode Thursday and Friday and get everything but the race out of the way, and then get back into Indy Lights mode on Saturday until I'm completely done with qualifying.
"I jump between the Midget and Silver Crown cars so much, that adjustment isn't so big, anymore. I'll just need to make sure I get in the right mindset for the Indy Lights car when I get back in it and make sure I'm thinking rear-engine and not the USAC cars. "
Even when he's not driving, Clauson's time will be in high demand off the track between appearances, engineering meetings. But there's one place he definitely plans to visit:
"I plan to spend a little time at the quarter-midget track, since the USAC Mopar .25 Midgets are part of the weekend activities," he said. "I came from quarter-midget racing and it's always nice to spend time with the youngsters who are beginning their racing careers."