Olympic champion to attend Sonoma race

Olympic gold medalist and swimming champion Tyler Clary hopes to be a race car driver after his swimming career is over. He'll get a preview of his prospective profession during the IZOD IndyCar Series event in Sonoma.

The 23-year-old Clary, who claimed the gold medal in the 200-meter backstroke during the 2012 London Olympic Games, will be a guest of INDYCAR during the GoPro Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma and get an all-access look at the world of Indy car racing. The swimming champion will have an unfettered experience around the INDYCAR paddock and receive driving tips from some of the fastest, most versatile racing drivers in the world.

"I really appreciate the invitation from INDYCAR to attend the race at Sonoma," Clary said. "Not many people get a chance to see what their future could be, and this is a perfect chance for me to get to know the ins and outs of INDYCAR racing."

Clary is no stranger to racing. He's been to several races at Auto Club Speedway near his hometown of Riverside, Calif., and attended the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach in April. He plans to participate in the Skip Barber Racing School, which could put him on the Mazda Road to Indy through the Skip Barber INDYCAR Academy. The Mazda Road to Indy is INDYCAR's official development ladder system that rewards series champions with scholarships to advance to the next series, which leads up to the IZOD IndyCar Series.

"My passions are swimming and cars. It's in my blood – I love to swim fast and race cars fast," Clary said. "I've realized that racing is something I really could be good at, and like I said, I want to take a serious shot at it after swimming."

Clary won't be the only Olympic medalist to attend the race weekend.

Erin Cafaro, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in rowing, will be a guest of TrueCar – sponsor of Dragon Racing – at Sonoma.

Cafaro, a seven-time world champion in the bow seat (first one to cross the line) for the USRowing women's 8 boat, won her second-straight gold in London. Her team became the first female team in USRowing history to win back-to-back gold medals.

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