'Circular Insanity' keeps Clauson busy

By Colin Smith

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Winning Form: Indiana racer Bryan Clauson drove to commanding midget car victory at Baypark Speedway on Wednesday night. Photo/Greg Henderson Photography
Winning Form: Indiana racer Bryan Clauson drove to commanding midget car victory at Baypark Speedway on Wednesday night. Photo/Greg Henderson Photography

Indianapolis 500 driver and multiple Midget Car and Sprint Car champion Bryan Clauson made it a winning finale to 2015 at Mt Maunganui's Baypark Speedway on Wednesday night.

Making his Baypark debut, Clauson led home Aucklander Michael Pickens in a slightly curfew-shortened international feature race to end 2015 the same way he started - driving to a Midget Car victory in New Zealand.

The Noblesville, Indiana racer had celebrated the New Year with a January 1 victory at Auckland's Western Springs and closed it some 130 races later with his Baypark success - making it 21 main event wins for the year.

And now the hard work really begins.

Clauson, 26, is ramping up his hectic schedule of Midget and Sprint Car racing in 2016 with his "Chase to 200" tour programme - a daunting programme of 200 events in 2016.

"We've coined it the 'Circular Insanity' tour" says Clauson, a reference to all of the races being on oval tracks.

The goal is to compete in 200 events during the 2016 calendar year. Practice and qualifying days won't count towards the tally but racing two classes on one night - or racing at two events the same day - will count double.

And all going to plan Clauson will be back in New Zealand in late 2016 with the "Chase to 200" ticker on his website up in the high 190s.

"As it stands it's about 100 winged sprint car races, 45 non-wing, about 30 midget races in the States and five to eight midget races outside of the States, one Indy Car race, some USAC Silver Crown races and whatever else we can fit in."

Clauson gets a head start and an extended season by racing through New Zealand's summer.

"It will start here in New Zealand and hopefully finish here," he says.

In May Clauson will attempt to make his third Indianapolis 500 start, carrying the support of short track fans at the 100th edition of the Indy 500 with the Jonathan Byrd's Racing squad.

In New Zealand this summer Clauson has extended his impressive winning run with the United Truck Parts team of Brian and Annette Theobald. He won the World 30-lap Derby at Western Springs on December 28 and Baypark's 40-lapper two nights later.

He races the "King of the Springs" 40-lapper tonight, the World 50-lapper on Sunday and flies to a sprint car race in Arizona on Tuesday before the Chili Bowl indoor midget car extravaganza at Tulsa, Oklahoma January 12-16.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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