Three-time Indianapolis 500 driver Bryan Clauson has died after succumbing to his injuries sustained in a crash in a national midget car dirt track race at Belleville, Kansas.
The 27-year-old was airlifted to hospital after crashing on the dirt track oval race when he was hit by an unsighted driver.
Clauson was declared 'severely injured' and in a critical condition on Sunday night but has since died from his injuries, which has been confirmed by IndyCar CEO Mark Miles.
Clauson is a former Indy Lights and NASCAR driver and claimed his career best result at this year's Indianapolis 500 with 23rd place for Jonathan Byrd's Racing.
"This is certainly a sad day for the racing community as a whole, and on behalf of IndyCar and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, we send our deepest condolences to the family of Bryan Clauson," Miles said. "Anybody who witnessed Bryan behind the wheel of a race car can attest to his elite ability, relentlessness and unbridled willingness to race anything on wheels.
“While he'll be remembered most as a legend of short-track racing, his participation in the Indianapolis 500 exemplifies his fearlessness, true versatility as a competitor and the pure depth of his talent as a driver."
A former development driver for Chip Ganassi Racing in IndyCar, Clauson was midway through a marathon 200 race campaign which took in the full scope of his driving talents by taking part in the Indy 500, World of Outlaws sprint cars, wingless sprint cars and midget cars.
"Short-track racing has always been the heart and soul of auto racing in America," Doug Boles, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway president, said. "Bryan Clauson combined his passion and enthusiasm for grassroots racing with a God-given talent that made him the favourite to win every time he got in a midget or sprint car. And he proved on the world's largest racing stage - by leading three laps in the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 - that he could use that talent in just about anything with wheels.
"More importantly, he possessed a humility and character out of the race car that made him a person that fellow competitors and fans alike enjoyed being around.
“His spirit, his positive outlook and his thrilling talent will be missed by the entire racing community. The thoughts and prayers of everyone at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are with the Clauson family in this difficult time."
The Californian rose to prominence after he earned a USAC-Indycar scholarship for winning the 2010 USAC national driver's title. The scholarship earned Clauson six Indy Lights starts in while he continued to race in USAC's national series. His best finish in eight career Indy Lights was third at Iowa Speedway in 2011.
Clauson won the scholarship award again in 2012, allowing him to make his Indianapolis 500 debut in 2012 with Sarah Fisher Hartman Racing, qualifying 31st and finishing 30th. Clauson returned to Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2015, finishing 31st in the Indy 500 for KVSH/Jonathan Byrd's Racing.
Clauson served as a development driver for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2007-08, and made 21 NASCAR Xfinity Series starts in 2008 finishing second in rookie points.
A memorial service in his honour is planned to take place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway at a date to be arranged.