Speedway, IN – Jonathan Byrd’s Racing is excited to announce two time USAC National Sprint Car Champion, two time USAC National Midget Champion, three time USAC National Driver’s Champion, two time National Midget Driver of the Year, and 2012 Indy 500 starter Bryan Clauson as the driver of the Jonathan Byrd’s IndyCar beginning with the 99th running of the Indianapolis 500 in 2015.
Speaking to that announcement, Bryan Clauson said: "I'm extremely excited to be headed back to the Indy 500. Getting back on track at IMS is something I've been working toward since the end of the 2012 race, and I can't thank the Byrd family enough for giving me this opportunity. The Byrd family has a tremendous history not only at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but also among the short track community as well. To add my name to an impressive list of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing drivers that includes guys like Rich Vogler and Stan Fox is an honor. With what I learned from my previous Indy 500 experience, along with a full year to prepare, I can't wait to see what we can accomplish together."
Jonathan Byrd II, elder son of the late Jonathan Byrd, added: “Not only is Bryan going to be our Indy 500 driver next year, it’s our intention that he be our Indy 500 driver for the next 15 years. He is a great fit for our brand, and we hope to be in the BC business for many years to come. In addition to Bryan driving the Jonathan Byrd’s IndyCar, we will also be supporting him in all of his racing efforts, and look forward to seeing him continue his winning ways and ‘parking it right down in the circle’ time and again while wearing the Jonathan Byrd’s logo. Amazingly, Bryan is scheduled to race more than 130 times in 2014, and we want to see him continue doing that for years to come. With his seven USAC championships and fifty-five career USAC wins at the ripe old age of twenty-four, Bryan is a throwback to Rich Vogler, which increases our level of excitement that much more. We have little doubt that he will add the title of ‘Indy 500 Champion’ to his resume."
Virginia "Ginny" Byrd talked about the decision to return to Indy a year earlier than had been previously announced: “Though we had originally intended to return for the 100th running of the Indy 500 in 2016, which would also have been the 20th anniversary of our track record with Arie, the announcement of our plans was met with such enthusiasm in so many different ways and from so many different directions, we decided that it did not make any sense to wait until 2016 and that we needed to move our program forward by a year."
Ginny continued, saying “The Indy 500 has been such a big part of the identity of our family and of the Jonathan Byrd’s brand. With the recent changes to our restaurant operations, along with the plans and programs that we are putting in place for the present and future of Jonathan Byrd’s, we decided that we needed to revisit that identity even sooner and go ahead and take the necessary steps a year ahead of what we had planned so we could once again tie ourselves to the biggest event in the world. These are exciting time for us, as we intend to grow the Jonathan Byrd’s restaurant, banquet, and catering brand here in central Indiana. Our presence here at Indy is going to be a key component of that growth, which is why we came to realize that we needed to be back in 2015. I’m really happy that we’re coming back with a popular and super talented Indiana kid like Bryan, which just makes it that much more fun!"
David Byrd, younger son of the late Jonathan Byrd, added “When we decided that it was time for us to return to Indy, Bryan was the first, last, and only driver we even considered. We went to him a couple of months ago, told him our plans, and said ‘we want you, are you in?’ Not only does his resume speak for itself, but everybody knows that Bryan was extremely fast right out of the box when he ran the 500 as a rookie in 2012. It’s an honor to have him drive for us, and I’m very happy that we’re not going to have to wait another two years to see him in action. We fully expect him to be quick again, and we’re going to give him all of the resources that he needs to run up front and compete to win. We’ll be ready to compete on the opening day of practice in 2015, as we have entered into an exciting partnership with an existing IndyCar team to create the Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Indy 500 entry for BC. We will be making a joint announcement in regards to that partnership in the very near future."
The 2015 Indianapolis 500 will be the 10th anniversary of the most recent Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Indy 500 entry with Buddy Lazier in 2005. It will also mark the 30th anniversary of the first Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Indy 500 entry with Rich Vogler in 1985.