News From Terre Haute, Indiana

May 8, 2012

RAMBLIN’ RECK: Clauson, 22, to make rare jump from USAC to Indy 500

Tom Reck
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Bryan Clauson will be a busy young man this month.

The 22-year-old race driver should make his debut in the Indianapolis 500 on May 27, driving a car owned by Sarah Fisher and Wink Hartman. He began the month competing in U.S. Auto Club midget races in Kansas.

Clauson will be the first driver to make the jump from USAC to the 500 since Tony Stewart did it several years ago.

Clauson drove in six Freedom Indy Lights races last year, including the Freedom 100, in which he finished fifth at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

He’ll begin rookie orientation this week for his first 500 run and had a chance to run in a test earlier this year in Texas. “It was more similar to the Indy Lights car than I probably expected,” he said on a teleconference last week.

His teammate in the race will be Josef Newgarden, a rookie standout in the IZOD IndyCar series. Fisher is pleased with his early showing in the series.

“Absolutely. Josef is fast. He works very hard, as does Bryan. It’s great to put those two programs together,” said Fisher, who made starts in nine Indy 500 races.

Both drivers are assured of making the race since there’s some doubt if there will be 33 cars in the field.

• Tom-Cattin’ It — The Indiana High School Athletic Association has requested bids for the 2013 girls state finals and should announce the site in June.

Terre Haute was the site this year.

• More changes continue to be made in college conferences. Schools joining Conference USA include Texas-San Antonio, Charlotte, Florida International and Louisiana Tech.

Utah State and San Jose State are slated to go from the WAC to Mountain West.

• Former NBA standout Shaquille O’Neal received his doctor’s degree from Barry University. He left LSU early to join the NBA.

• The New York Knicks ended an 11-year, 13-game postseason drought by beating the Miami Heat in the NBA playoffs Sunday.

Indiana can end its series with Orlando by winning at home tonight.

• Illinois has added 6-foot-8 Coastal Carolina transfer Sam McLaurin to the roster.

• “Magic-Bird” will close its short run on Broadway this month. The play received mixed reviews when it opened last month.

• Plans continue for a four-team NCAA football playoff that would go into effect in the 2014 season. Lots of answers are yet to come about the selection process and other issues.

• Phil Cunningham has resigned as football coach at Covington High School to pursue an administrative license. He had a 17-24 mark in four seasons and led the Trojans to two straight winning seasons, their first in 15 years.

Tom Reck may be contacted by telephone at (812) 232-3231, by email at or by mail at 4284 S. Fifth St., Apt. 3, Terre Haute, IN 47802.