BROWN: One Year & One Man Who Changed My Life

Rence Brown Featured, NASCAR, Rence Brown Blog, Staff Columns 1 Comment

The late Bryan Clauson, seen here after a win with the POWRi Lucas Oil National Midget League, touched a myriad of lives during his life and after it, including our own Rence Brown’s. (Brendon Bauman photo)

CALABASAS, Calif. — One year. 365 days.

It may seem like an eternity for some, but for me it feels like it was yesterday that in a night two lives changed, forever.

How do you thank someone that is no longer here? That is the question I ask myself every single day since that horrible night on Aug. 5, 2016.

I was on my way back home from a weekend vacation up the California coast with my then-girlfriend. I was excited to get back home and sit in my chair, catch up on the racing events from Watkins Glen and the Belleville Nationals.

It seemed like nothing was out of the ordinary.

It quickly everything became anything but ordinary.

A friend of mine had informed me the day prior that Bryan Clauson had flipped at Belleville but walked away. Well, the very next day, that very same friend informed me again that Clauson had flipped, but this time he didn’t walk away.

The scene went from bad to worse as they tarped his car. Normally in my experience in watching racing, after a bad crash, a tarp generally means a hurt driver or worse.

I immediately went to the USAC Twitter page to get as much information as possible about the accident. I then searched for any emergency services out in that region (EMS, any air support, what hospital were they taking him to or general area).

From all the information I had gathered, I made a post in one of the many racing groups I was part of on Facebook to let the members know what was happening as it was unfolding.

That is when a man from North Carolina messaged me and asked me how I was gaining all of this information. I had told him about how I was gaining these findings. The next question he asked me would change my life as I knew it.

The man asked if I would work for this company as a racing reporter.

That man was Race Chaser Online’s managing editor: Jacob Seelman.

I was taken aback by his question. Here is a then-23-year-old from Southern California, being asked if he wanted to join a racing website to talk about the very thing of which he dreamt about. Talking about it now is still overwhelming, because I thought I would never get here.

I grew up playing stick and ball sports, baseball, basketball, football, soccer. While I enjoyed playing them and getting to know the sport, I needed something that was me. I needed something that I could get lost in.

Racing was that thing for me.

Let’s go back to 2006, to the Cup Series race from Bristol that March. Jeff Gordon was spun out of a third place finish by Matt Kenseth and Gordon showed Kenseth his displeasure after the race by giving him a two armed shove on pit road.

It was exciting, exhilarating and I wanted more. I became a fan from that day forward.

I read stories, watched old races on YouTube and tuned in every weekend to watch the next race. I wanted to absorb as much as I could and become familiar with a sport that was fairly new to me. Of course, none of that can compare to actually being at a race track.

The smell, the noise, the fans … the atmosphere is intoxicating.

In one single instant I went from being a fan in the stands to being part of the sport, offering fans the same information that I yearned for during many a race weekend, all due to the impact of one man — Bryan Clauson.

Continued on the next page…

Comments 1

  1. Hi Rence,

    Thanks be to God for your humility in writing this piece in honour of Bryan’s memory. I was “gutted”, and still am by his passing, that day. I pray for Lauren a lot; February 4th (what was to be there wedding day) was a tough day for me. I grieve for Lauren.

    God bless you as you live and breath what we all (fans and drivers) in the racing community all love; racing.

    “Gospel Gary”
    (262) 287-6727

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