Jonathon Byrd Racing and Bryan Clauson will join forces for the 2015 Indianapolis 500.
While it won’t happen until next year, Jonathan Byrd’s Racing is returning to the Indianapolis 500 and already has named the driver of their 2015 Indy 500 entry.
Bryan Clauson, the two-time USAC National Midget champion, three-time USAC National Driver’s champion, two-time National Midget driver of the year and starter (for Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing) of the 2012 Indy 500 has been designated to be the driver of this car, beginning with the race’s 99th running. No engine partner or team structure has been announced yet.
“Getting back to the Indy 500 is something I’ve been working toward since the end of the 2012 race, and I can’t thank the Byrd family enough for giving me this opportunity,” Clauson said. “To add my name to an impressive list of Jonathan Byrd’s Racing drivers that includes guys like Rich Vogler and Stan Fox (both outstanding USAC open-wheel drivers) is an honor. With what I learned from my previous Indy 500 experience, along with a full year to prepare, I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish together.”
Jonathan Byrd II, the elder son of the late Jonathan Byrd predicted that Clauson will be the family team’s driver “for the next 15 years. He’s a great fit for our brand and we hope to be in the BC business for many years to come.” In addition to naming Clauson as their Indy 500 driver next year, the family intends to support all of his racing activities. “We look forward to seeing him continue his winning ways and ‘parking it right down in the circle’ time and again while wearing the Jonathan Byrd’s logo,” JB II said.
With Clauson scheduled to race more than 130 times in 2014, the Byrd family can look forward to seeing their name in Victory Lane quite a bit. Their new driver has seven USAC titles and 55 career USAC wins - at age 24 - and the family confers on him the title of successor to the late Vogler.
The 2016 Indianapolis 500 will mark the Byrd family team’s 20th anniversary of their track record with Arie Luyendyk as driver. The team had initially intended to return to the Brickyard to mark that event, but with enthusiasm by supporters they decided it didn’t make sense to wait another year.
“The Indy 500 has sen such a bit part of the identity of our family and of the Jonathan Byrd’s brand,” said Virginia “Ginny” Byrd, the family matriarch. “With recent changes to our restaurant operations, along with the plans and programs that we are putting in place for the present and future of Jonathan Byrd’s, we decided we needed to revisit that identity even sooner and go ahead and take the necessary steps a year ahead of what we had [originally] planned.”
The 2015 500-mile race marks the 10th anniversary of the most recent Jonathan Byrd’s Racing Indy 500 entry with Buddy Lazier in 2005. It will also mark the 30th anniversary of the first Jonathan Byd’s Acing Indy 500 entry with Rich Vogler in 1985.