Junior Open Wheel Talent

News and Views on Drivers Chasing Open-Wheel Stardom

Clauson Earns Indy Lights Oval Scholarship

by Ryan Stringfield
Posted December 2, 2010 at 10:21 am Indy Lights, open wheel racing news

Bryan Clauson earns 2010 Road to Indy USAC Scholarship
(Photo: IndyCar.com)

This is sort of old news by now — as I was holding off to see if a team announcement would be made — but it’s big news.

Bryan Clauson wrapped up a tremendous season on Thanksgiving night at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif., winning the USAC National Drivers Championship. With the title in hand, Clauson was awarded a $300,000 Road to Indy scholarship that will see him compete in six Indy Lights oval events next season, starting with the Freedom 100 in Indianapolis. Oval races make up 50-percent of the 2011 Indy Lights’ schedule.

The USAC National Drivers Championship is a season long battle that crowns the driver with the most National points as the overall champion. The top-25 results are scored from the three main USAC National Series: Silver Crown, Sprint Cars and Midgets — in order to factor in a drivers ability to perform in a variety of conditions/cars.

Clauson finished inside the top-three on 19 occasions, including 10 feature wins. INDYCAR CEO Randy Bernard and Indy Lights team owner Sam Schmidt were in attendance as Clauson won the Turkey Night Grand Prix. The scholarship was awarded following the race.

While nothing has been announced, it’s likely that Clauson will drive for Sam Schmidt next season. But, until something official is released that’s strictly a guess. Stay tuned for updates.

I really like the RTI extension to USAC as it should help bring in a tremendous amount of talent who might have otherwise taken a different path. It would have been nice to give these kids a little road course experience too, though, rather than limiting the scholarship money exclusively to oval events. Perhaps, they will set up a similar scholarship for road course events and extend it to Star Mazda competitors?

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