Bryan Clauson has already secured one career milestone. This weekend, he’s in search of another.
Clauson, a development driver for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, earned his first win in the Automobile Racing Club of America series last weekend at St. Louis.
The 18-year-old from Noblesville, Ind., will make his NASCAR debut this weekend, driving Ganassi’s No. 41 Dodge in Friday night’s Emerson Radio 250 Busch Series race at Richmond (Va.) International Raceway (8 p.m. Eastern, ESPN2).
Clauson has been racing since he was five years old. He was the youngest driver to win a Sprint Car National feature (2006); the youngest Midget National feature winner (2005); and also earned USAC National Midget rookie of the year honors last season.
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“It is a good place for a first-time effort, but the competition is going to be tough,” Clauson said.
“I expect some of the guys who are trying to make it into the Chase or lock their position in it to run to get the extra practice.
“Our goal is to go run the entire race on the lead lap and finish on the lead lap. It’s going to be about being competitive but also gaining experience.
"If we run 20th and finish on the lead lap we’ll be satisfied – not happy, but satisfied.”
After Richmond, Clauson is scheduled to make six more Busch starts, beginning with the Sept. 29 race at Kansas Speedway.
JR Motorsports, Earnhardt Jr.’s Busch Series team, will field a car this weekend for driver Brad Keselowski built by Hendrick. It’s the first car JR Motorsports has received since the two teams announced the merger of their Busch programs in July.
The No. 29 now leads Roush Fenway Racing’s No. 60 in the owner’s standings, while the No. 60’s driver, Carl Edwards, leads the driver standings. Scott Wimmer is driving the No. 29 this weekend.