Writer / Jamie Hergott
Eighteen-year-old Connor Wellman isn’t a dirt track racer, but he loves being around the sport. When he was told in his internship class at Noblesville High School earlier this year that he needed to find an internship or he’d be assigned one, he knew where he wanted to be – Clauson Marshall Racing (CMR).
CMR is based in Fishers, and is home to midget and sprint car dirt track racing as well as the Clauson Marshall Dream Team. CMR began as Bryan Clauson Racing in 2008, with the goal of helping families navigate the sport and express their love for dirt track racing. Clauson was a dirt track icon for years, and died tragically in an accident during a race in 2016.
His father Tim continued the program, bringing on Richard Marshall as co-owner.
“They’re super busy and didn’t really have an internship available,” Wellman says.
Wellman had grown up going to races since his dad was a driver, and he knew the track was close to his hometown of Noblesville. He decided to take a chance and simply ask if he could serve them as an intern.
“They thought it was a cool idea,” he says. “I’ve been there as an intern since the beginning of the school year.”
Wellman spends many of his extra hours at the track while completing his senior year of high school. He has two to three hours allotted per week during his internship class to work at the track, and when there are races on the weekends, he’s there for hours – but he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I love being around it,” Wellman says. “I can’t explain it. I feel like people at the track treat everyone the same. Yes, there are arguments and we don’t always agree, but it’s such a different view from people treating each other differently.”
Wellman spends his time in the pits, changing tires and cleaning cars as part of his internship. It may not sound glamorous, but as someone who’s passionate about racing, Wellman knows how important the job is.
He explains that cleaning is an important element in dirt track racing, as dirt can build up on a car, slow it down and break parts.
Wellman loves spending time in the pits because he learns about how teams bond, prepare cars and work together.
“It’s really just the fact that I get to be there and learn as it’s all happening,” Connor Wellman says regarding what he enjoys about interning. “You really get to watch everything happen in real time. It’s a great way to learn.”
Wellman’s inspiration is Bryan Clauson. He grew up watching Clauson race and was inspired by his career. A local legend of sorts, from the same area as Wellman, Clauson’s connection to Wellman’s hometown added to his fascination with the sport.
He also met Thomas Meseraull at the track – another dirt track racer with an impressive career. In fact, they’ve gotten close through Wellman’s internship, and the relationship helps to keep the spark alive for Wellman.
Wellman is not sure exactly what direction he wants to go with racing, but he’s enjoying his internship as much as possible. His primary goal is simply to be around racing.
“I want to make connections with all the different kinds of racing,” Connor Wellman says. “Maybe I’ll be a racer at one point. That’s a big hope, but really I just love being there. I wasn’t expecting them to allow me to do this, and I’m very thankful they gave me the chance.”