It wasn’t easy, but Tim Clauson knew what his son Bryan would have wanted.
Bryan, a three-time Indianapolis 500 starter, died at age 27 in a midget car crash in August 2016.
“We traveled a lot of roads racing together, and you pretty much talk about everything, and we did have those ‘what if’ talks and the point that Bryan always said to me (was), ‘Dad, I’m a racer because you’re a racer, and heaven forbid, if something happens to you, I’m going to continue on. And if something happens to me, I sure hope you would continue on,’” said Clauson, who lives in Noblesville with his wife, Diana. “When you are having that talk, it’s easy to say you are going to do it, but when it happens, your thought process changes a little.
“But the outpouring that the racing community, to this day, hugs us with is a big part of why we continue on. Now, to continuing on not chasing wins but with a bigger purpose, that’s saving lives and speeding message or organ donations.”
As a registered donor, Bryan, a 2007 Noblesville High School graduate, saved five lives through organ donations and healed up to 75 lives through tissue donation.
Clauson Marshall Racing program promotes Driven2SaveLives, an Indiana Donor Network campaign.
Pippa Mann will drive the No. 39 Driven2SavesLives Chevrolet May 26 in the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. No. 39 was the car number Bryan drove during his successful sprint and midget car career.
“Honestly, that’s the whole reason I keep racing,” Clauson said of using his racing program to promote the message. “We saw the impact the motorsports world had on organ donation after we lost Bryan, that was some of the campaigns we did to generate (donor) registration.”
While the Indy 500 presents a large platform, Clauson Marshall Racing promotes Driven2SaveLives year-round.
“What we wanted to do is not just talk about it in May, but we wanted to able to talk about it 365 days a year,” Clauson said. “That’s where doing it through the short track racing program comes in. We’re at a race track somewhere in the country with our race cars every weekend, and in the summer, just about every night. If we can talk about it intimately 350 days a year and then get to celebrate 15 days a year at the Speedway, that just makes absolute sense to us.”
Clauson’s racing shop is in Fishers. Richard Marshall is a partner with Clauson in the short-track program.
Clauson said Mann has been a family friend since she was Bryan’s teammate in 2016.
Clauson was impressed by the way Mann continued to support Driven2SaveLives and all her partners after she was bumped from the race lineup in 2018.
“She honored us, Bryan and the family,” Clauson said. “I said on race day last year, if I was in position, I wanted to do everything to help her get another opportunity to get in the race. That put a bug in our ear to do it. We were able to put some pieces (together) in January that allowed us to do it for this year.”
Mann qualified in the 30th spot, gaining the last guaranteed spot on the first day of the two-day qualifying session, thus avoiding the chance of being bumped during the Last Row Shootout session.
“I definitely slept a lot easier knowing that we were locked in,” Clauson said.
For more, visit driven2savelives.org.