TULSA, Oklahoma - The 375 drivers entered in the Chili Bowl started racing for real in qualifying heats Tuesday, January 10, 2017, but something more meaningful had already taken place at the River Spirit Expo on day one.

Clauson-Marshall Racing announced they're joining a nationwide effort to encourage race fans to sign up to become organ donors.

On August 7th, 2016, in Belleville Kansas, driver Bryan Clauson made contact with a lapped car, flipped his car then was hit by an oncoming car. The former Chili Bowl champion died the next day. 

Bryan's story doesn't end there. Bryan Clauson was an organ donor, and because of that - five people were saved.
 
"It really gave us light at the darkest moment of our life," said Tim Clauson, Bryan's father.  "To know that he took that love of life and that is carrying on after his accident is truly the greatest gift he could have left all of us."

Now the goal is to save more lives. The Indiana Donor Network is teaming up with Clauson-Marshall Racing to promote organ, tissue and eye donation through the "Driven2SaveLives" campaign. 

"I know his buddies in other racing worlds, NASCAR, Indy Car and that, they'd be talking about going to the Bahamas in January, and Bryan said well, I'm going to Tulsa. This was his Bahamas," Tim said. "He really loved this place."

"We're here to race, but the important piece to this is all the lives that we can save and helped save that Bryan led us to," said racer Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 

So five months after tragedy, at a place where Bryan Clauson was a champion, and a place that meant so much to him, those closest to him made sure his legacy lives on.  

Tyler Courtney of Indiana won Tuesday's A Feature followed by Larry Wight and Zach Daum.  For complete results, go to the Chili Bowl website.