PEORIA, Ariz. – Bryan Clauson’s “Circular Insanity Tour” is just barely getting under way. But the Noblesville, IN, racer is already picking up steam, winning three of five USAC Southwest vs. West Coast features at Canyon Speedway Park to capture the Winter Challenge title.
With a handful of Arizona races in the books, the count for 2016 is up to 11 races in the unprecedented pursuit for 200.
Now, Clauson shifts gears as he makes his way from Arizona to Florida for some winged All Star Circuit of Champions 410-ci Sprint Car action aboard the Cancer Treatment Centers of America/Elk Grove Ford No. 17 this Friday and Saturday at Ocala’s Bubba Raceway Park.
Clauson leaves in the rearview mirror a Canyon Speedway Park that has been good to him in recent years, with the trio of wins over the past two weekends running his CSP win total to 18 since of October of 2011.
“Donny has Knoxville and I have Canyon,” Clauson quipped. “Now if those Canyon races paid like Donny’s Knoxville wins, we’d be in good shape.”
Clauson opened Winter Challenge in victory lane in the opening two rounds on Friday and Saturday, January 22 and 23 and added a third win this past Friday night. A move into the lead in traffic was negated before a third-place finish on January 24 before settling for runner-up honors in an epic Saturday night finale.
“We had a great ten days there, that’s a place I expect to win at least half the time,” Clauson commented. “It’s been really good to me.”
While Clauson made it look easy aboard Mike Martin’s Cancer Treatment Centers of America/Jonathan Byrd’s Restaurant & Hospitality Group No. 16b, there were still some adjustments along the way.
“It had actually been a while since we ran a 360 at Canyon,” Clauson explains. “We made some changes that really made it quite a bit faster for the last couple of races.”
The Friday night win put Clauson at an unexpected landmark, as he became just the sixth driver in history to capture 100 overall feature wins, joining an exclusive club that includes Rick Vogler, A.J. Foyt, Sleepy Tripp, Mel Kenyon and Dave Darland. Clauson is the youngest to reach the mark at just 26 years of age.
“I had no idea,” Clauson said of the accomplishment. “There are a lot of great names on that list, it’s a who’s who of guys that have made the sport what it is. It’s humbling to be on the same list.”
Clauson went on to say, “I really feel like I’m just getting started. Hopefully we can keep winning for a long time to come. It’s special to be a part of the 100 win club, now I want to go win 100 more.”
Canyon Speedway Park’s handful of wingless 360-ci events followed on a 2016 Circular Insanity opener in New Zealand, a pair of Winter Heat cards at Yuma’s Cocopah Speedway and three Chili Bowl nights that included a 12th to fourth run in the Race of Champions, a preliminary feature win and then a runner-up finish in the Chili Bowl championship feature after leading much of the way.
“It probably would have been better if Rico had passed me about ten laps earlier, I would have had a little more that way to search around and figure out what I needed to do,” Clauson commented afterward.
After taking out Chili Bowl vengeance with three Arizona wins to run his season total to four wins in 11 starts, Clauson ventures into uncharted waters as he races with a wing in Florida for the first time over the next pair of weekends.
“I’m excited about it, it’s something we haven’t done,” Clauson says.
While Clauson has turned some laps at Bubba Raceway Park in a non-wing car, winning three times along the way, that doesn’t necessarily translate into an advantage.
“It can actually sometimes be a disadvantage if you go off what you did with the non-wing car, it’s a big difference.”
Following this weekend’s All Star double at Ocala, five nights of DIRTcar Nationals action follows at a first-time venue for Clauson beginning next Wednesday at Barberville’s Volusia Speedway Park.
2016 Circular Insanity Tour Quick Stats: 11 races, 4 wins, 8 top-fives, 9 top-tens.
Up Next: All Star Circuit of Champions at Bubba Raceway Park in Ocala, FL, this Friday and Saturday, February 5-6.
Keep Track: Keep track of Bryan Clauson’s 2016 Circular Insanity Tour at www.bryanclauson.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bryanclausonracing/?fref=ts and on Twitter at @bryanclausoninc.
-Lonnie Wheatley Press Release. Photo credit: Patrick Shaw