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Will front engined USAC cars that race on dirt adequately prepare Bryan Clauson for the Indy 500?
When INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard saw his first USAC sprint show at Kokomo Speedway in 2010, he was impressed with the horsepower (850), the skill of the drivers on the quarter mile dirt track and the passionate fans that packed the grandstands.
On the drive back home, he wondered why none of those American open-wheel racers competed in the Indianapolis 500.
It was explained that USAC used to be the path to Indy but not for over 30 years because the dirt cars were removed from the championship schedule and road racing replaced DuQuoin, Springfield, Sacramento and the Hoosier Hundred.
Bernard vowed to try and re-open the door from USAC to Indy some day and it appears he’s done it.
During USAC’s annual awards dinner Friday night, Bernard announced that this season’s Road to Indy Scholarship money would go towards getting an Indy 500 ride for Bryan Clauson.
Clauson, the overall USAC champion for the second straight year, will have $300,000 to help secure a car for the 2012 Indianapolis 500.
"I grew up going to the Speedway and always dreaming of being one of those 33 starters and this is a big step towards making it happen,” said the 22-year-old Noblesville native who won the USAC midget title and finished eighth in both the sprint and Silver Crown standings.
"If you ask all the guys who race in USAC if they want to be an INDYCAR driver, about 60 percent say yes. If you ask them about running the Indy 500, it’s 100 percent – that’s what we all aspire to do.’’ More at Speed.com
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