NASCAR drivers Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kyle Larson grew up racing open-wheel cars and both were friends with the late Bryan Clauson, who died Aug. 7 following a crash at the Belleville (Kansas) Midget Nationals.
This weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Stenhouse and Larson are wearing Clauson tribute helmets and Stenhouse's Roush Fenway Racing Ford has a tribute paint scheme as well.
The two tribute helmets will be auctioned off to raise money for the USAC Benevolent Foundations, with Stenhouse and Larson each donating another $5,000.
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"Bryan was a great friend of Kyle's and mine," Stenhouse said. "I moved to North Carolina and he was already there. Even though he was younger, I kind of always looked at him as an older brother because he kind of did everything before I did.
"He let me move in with him and we had a lot of fun in North Carolina," said Stenhouse. "He showed me the ropes of stock car racing and then obviously he was the best there was running sprint cars, so to be able to run his paint scheme, his family is super-excited and we are, too, at our team."
Larson, too, said he was proud to represent on behalf of Clauson, his family and his fiancÃ©e, Lauren Stewart.
"It's cool to come here and show our support to Bryan and his family," said Larson." I know Lauren and her family are on their way here. That is going to be fun to hang out with them."
And Larson praised his fallen friend and racer.
"He was a great person, awesome race car driver; we have both finished second to him quite a bit," Larson said of Clauson. "I hate to see him go, but we are going to do our part to support him."
We were teammates - always. All in together. (Except for the times I fell asleep in the truck) ❤️ pic.twitter.com/PNQhcXUpbC— Lauren Stewart (@LaurenStewart9) August 18, 2016