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Former USAC Star Newman Wants BC39 To Grow Even Bigger at IMS

Indiana-born Ryan Newman has conquered Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s famed oval in a stock car, winning the NASCAR Cup Series’ 2013 Brickyard 400 for Stewart Haas Racing.

Like fellow Hoosier Tony Stewart, South Bend native Newman has an affinity for short-track, open-wheel dirt racing, and he wants IMS owner Roger Penske to take the next step with the quarter-mile dirt track inside Turn 3 by making the Driven2SaveLives BC39 presented by NOS Energy Drink an even bigger showcase on USAC’s annual calendar. The third such National Midget race is set for Aug. 18-19.

Newman, a former USAC champion and 18-time Cup Series race winner, is a spokesman for the Driven2SaveLives campaign and has driven the car of Clauson Marshall Racing in special events. Newman also has long had strong ties to IMS, which explains why he supports the USAC-sanctioned event at the Speedway continuing for years to come.

“(I’d) make it more of a staple event and invite all the fans to come out and experience it and be a part of it,” he said. “(It) doesn’t have permanent grandstands, so making it more of a permanent facility would probably be one of (my goals).”

Newman drove for Penske for his first nine years in the Cup Series, so he understands that economics are always part of The Captain’s decision-making process.

“Obviously, that’s very expensive,” Newman said of installing permanent grandstands.

First held in 2018, the BC39 honors Bryan Clauson, the highly decorated driver who ran three Indianapolis 500s presented by Gainbridge before suffering fatal injuries in a Midget race in 2016 in Kansas. Driven2SaveLives is a program created to promote awareness of organ donation through registration, and Clauson was a donor, and his organs helped save five lives.

Clauson’s sister, Taylor McLean, is a marketing specialist at the Indiana Donor Network, a key partner in BC39, and she manages the campaign. The main event is 39 laps in duration because that was the car number Clauson was known for.

This year, the BC39 will be held the week following the NASCAR/INDYCAR doubleheader on the IMS road course. Newman will compete in the Cup Series race, the Verizon 200 at the Brickyard on Aug. 15.

On Aug. 7, the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix, a new NTT INDYCAR SERIES race in Nashville, Tennessee, will honor Clauson with the NTT P1 Award carrying his name and “BC39” logo.

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