Indy ORP: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

Bryan Clauson and the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge (NNS) It will be a Home Run Weekend for Clauson: This weekend, Clauson will be making his career first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP). However, it will not be the...

Bryan Clauson and the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge (NNS)

It will be a Home Run Weekend for Clauson: This weekend, Clauson will be making his career first NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) start at O'Reilly Raceway Park (ORP). However, it will not be the teen rookie's first start at ORP. The Noblesville, Ind., native has four United States Auto Club (USAC) starts at the track which includes a visit to Victory Lane. Growing up open-wheel racing in the Noblesville, Ind., area, Clauson's dream was always to go NASCAR racing and now he's doing just that in his own backyard this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge.

It will be a Sea of Blue at ORP: Being a Noblesville, Ind., native, Clauson will be racing very close to his hometown this weekend at ORP. The young driver will be heavily supported by almost 200 relatives and friends. In fact, it will be hard for race fans and competitors to miss his guests at the track as they will all be seated together sporting Fastenal blue t-shirts in support of Clauson's first NASCAR start at his hometown track. Clauson is planning to make a quick pit stop prior to race time on Saturday to cook out with all 150-plus guests.

Meet Clauson this Week in Indy: Before he takes to the track this weekend at ORP, Clauson will be signing autographs and greeting fans this Thursday, July 24, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Fastenal store located in his hometown of Noblesville, Ind., at 14775 Herriman Boulevard.

Clauson to Race Thursday at ORP: Prior to racing the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge at ORP in Saturday's Kroger 200, Clauson will also be driving his No. 47 Fastenal Midget car at ORP this Thursday night. Clauson started his own midget race team earlier this year so he's a team owner and race car driver at the ripe old age of 19. He just graduated from Noblesville High School in June 2007. One year later, he's carrying out what he always dreamed of doing and has become a race team owner himself.

Standings Update: This past weekend's 29th-place finish at Gateway dropped the No. 40 CGRFS NNS team two spots in the overall NNS owner standings, into 19th place. The team is 180 points away from 15th.

Bryan, how special is it going to be to finally get to race in a stock car this weekend at ORP? "Going home to run in front of the hometown crowd in a place I have raced several times on the open-wheel side of things and a place I have really enjoyed going to, to watch racing growing up is very exciting. I've been to the last couple of NASCAR ORP races just to watch so I am really looking forward to actually getting to drive there this weekend.

"Being from Indianapolis, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is synonymous with IndyCar racing, so growing up there I followed the team a good bit and always watched the Indy 500, of course. So, now here I am getting ready to make my first start in Indianapolis for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. It's pretty cool and almost surreal to be doing what I am doing right now.

"This will also be a lot of my friends' and family members' first chance to come watch me compete in a NASCAR race. A few of them have gone down to Nashville and Kentucky but this weekend will be a first for a lot of them. Aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, high school buddies and a couple of teachers are coming out. So, there are a lot of cool things going on with what we have scheduled around this weekend on and off the track."

Is your open-wheel experience at ORP going to aide your stock car effort Saturday night? "Any time you can get any laps in anything helps just knowing the different banking on the race track. How going from the top to the bottom affects the race car. It all relates. You can draw on some of the experience you have in open-wheel stuff that will help you in some ways, maybe not the same exact way as in any other car, but you get ideas and it makes that learning process at the race track go a lot faster.

"We're taking a really good car. With the experience I have there as well as how well our Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates teams have run there in the past, we should have a good solid run Saturday night."

CHASSIS INFO

No. 40 Fastenal Dodge (NNS): Chassis #754. Clauson most recently raced this car at The Milwaukee Mile this past June. Clauson started the weekend in the 22nd position, and then battled a tight-handling race car all night, but was able to stay on the lead lap to finish 20th. This is also the same car the No. 40 NNS team entered at Phoenix International Raceway this past April with Dario Franchitti behind the wheel (started 13th, finished 11th).

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series NASCAR XFINITY
Drivers Dario Franchitti , Chip Ganassi , Bryan Clauson , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing