With the untimely passing of Bryan Clauson this week, it just doesn’t feel right to talk about the tactics of building a good racing program. As one of our own in the sprint car world, Bryan’s death has hit us hard. So, this week, I want to let go of the sponsorship, marketing and branding tactics and talk about something a little bit more personal: how Bryan influenced our lives and work.
When the news was confirmed, both Carl and I searched for what to say. For me, it felt like it wasn’t my place to make it about me. But saying nothing – not sharing what he and his fiance Lauren unknowingly gifted us – didn’t feel right either.
Finally, Carl told me to share what I had written that morning in my personal journey, as private and imperfect (and illegible) as it might be.
Here’s what I wrote:
“If we ever start to wonder if what we do matters, we should take a look at the life of Bryan Clauson. Our home is crushed today for his home. So much of our journey has been influenced by his. He was an inspiration not just to Carl as a racer, but as a person. He and Lauren inspired our business and the life that we have been working hard and sacrificing for.
When we have had to dig deep to make decisions and take risks that were scary to us or those around us, it was BC and Lauren that we modeled. It is devastating to think that the path we have scraped and clawed to walk behind them on would end like this.
I cannot imagine what they will go through – the joy of knowing him and the pain of his loss, and the continued reminders of both. My heart hurts at the thought of it all, but also aches to think about how easy it is to forget what a blessing we have in this life together.
With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith. (2 Thess. 1:11)”
I’m sharing this here in hopes that the first line rings home for you: “If we ever wonder if what we do matters, we should take a look at the life of Bryan Clauson.”
Many of us struggle to make this racing dream work. We’re often faced with doubts and doubters, questions and loud questioners. We get wrapped up in the hardships of losing and wrecking, paying bills and making sacrifices. We lose sleep over what we trade for the time, energy and money we give to our racing.
I’d like to remind you of this: you have no idea who you are affecting and influencing on your journey, racing or otherwise.
We weren’t just inspired by Bryan’s talent. We appreciated his humble demeanor and quiet acknowledgements when our paths crossed. We were inspired by watching what it took to plan and execute the Chasing 200 Tour and promote the Shamrock Classic. We recognized their contributions to causes important to them and our racing community.
We loved how he loved, not just Lauren and Chevy and Stewart, but everyone around him.
Whether you hang it up before you get that first win, snag a championship (or ten), run out of money before the season’s in full swing or pull off the biggest victory of your career, your choices, your work and your attitude are affecting someone. Someone sees your smiles. Someone sees the pain in your eyes, too. Someone will see the pat on the back, or the congratulations you offer. Someone will see how tired you are at the end of the night. Someone will recognize and appreciate your sacrifices.
That’s incredibly powerful, and too often we forget that.
That’s just one of the many revelations that a loss like this can reveal to us. And for that, we are blessed.