As the racing world grieved the loss of Bryan Clauson, his death also showed the generous spirit of members of the racing community.
Sprint Cup driver Tony Stewart was among those showing a big heart at the Knoxville Nationals sprint car races in Knoxville, Iowa, over the weekend.
During an auction to benefit Clauson’s survivors, Stewart paid $32,000 for Clauson’s racing helmet, then immediately gave the helmet back to Clauson’s fiancee, Lauren Stewart.
The winner of a $20,000 50-50 drawing at the track gave the entire proceeds to the Clausons.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr. drove the car Clauson was to have run at Knoxville, pacing the field for the start, and Stenhouse’s girlfriend, Danica Patrick, sold Clauson souvenirs.
Clauson himself also was a big giver, as his family revealed on Facebook. Unbeknownst to them, he was an organ donor.
“It shouldn’t have surprised us,” his family posted. “All of us have felt Bryan’s generosity throughout his life. The gift of life is the most amazing gesture, and Bryan will live on not only through us and all the people he touched along the way, but from the lucky individuals that will benefit from Bryan making a decision to be a donor.
“It was not lost on our family as we sat huddled around him, holding his hands, comforting him and each other, saying our last goodbye, that five families were also sitting in a hospital room somewhere, comforting their loved one and each other while praying for a miracle that Bryan ultimately delivered for them. We are so proud of our Bryan for making this decision.”
The Clauson family also urged others to become organ donors.
“If you are a donor, thank you. If you are not, please consider for a moment becoming one. We have seen firsthand how amazing it feels on both sides of the coin. It is the greatest gift that one person can give another. We promise.”
A celebration of Clauson’s life is set for Aug. 24 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.