Skip to content

Tyler Clary’s plan: swim to Rio, drive to NASCAR

Jul 4, 2014, 11:16 AM EDT

Duel in the Pool - Previews Getty Images

Tyler Clary, the reigning Olympic champion in the 200m backstroke, proved on Tuesday that he can go fast outside of the pool, too. Clary participated in a semi-pro stock car race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Racing a Legends car, which can reach speeds of up to 100 mph, Clary finished 15th after a car ahead of him flipped.

This was Clary’s first competitive stock car race, but the 25-year-old has long been drawn to the track. According to the Charlotte Observer, when Clary was growing up in California he raised money for his swim team by working in the merchandise booth at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana.

A member of SwimMAC Carolina, Clary is committed to balancing his training for the 2016 Rio Olympics with his long-term plan for a NASCAR career.

He told USA Today:

I’m here because I’m serious about it and I want this to be my next career. I’m not joking around about it. It’s not a publicity stunt. I mean everything about what I’m doing.

Clary intends to continue racing in the weekly Summer Shootout series, with the eventual goal of reaching the Sprint Cup series.

He already has two high-profile supporters: a sponsor, Fusion Jerky, and a mentor, Jimmie Johnson. The winner of six NASCAR Cup Series, Johnson has swapped driving advice for swimming tips from Clary.

Clary sees similarities between a winning race strategy in the pool and on the track. “NASCAR is a game of margins, and you’re always trying to push that margin a little bit further to see if you can have even the smallest edge over your opponent,” he told the Charlotte Observer. “That’s really something that is hammered into our heads as swimmers every single day. We are constantly looking for that edge.”

Clary’s SwimMAC teammates, including Ryan Lochte, came out to the racetrack to support him. The two swimmers took a photo with Clary’s Legends car.

Latest Posts
  1. Mikaela Shiffrin wins her first World Cup giant slalom in Soelden tie

    Oct 25, 2014, 7:56 AM EDT

    Mikaela Shiffrin Getty Images

    Olympic slalom champion and World Cup overall champion have matching times.

  2. Tatsuki Machida leads Skate America over Jeremy Abbott, Jason Brown

    Oct 24, 2014, 10:59 PM EDT

    Tatsuki Machida Getty Images

    Machida can become first repeat Skate America men’s winner since 2001.

  3. Alpine skiing men’s World Cup preview

    Oct 24, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT

    Bode Miller, Ted Ligety Getty Images

    Austrian eyes history, while Ted Ligety, Bode Miller look to fill resume holes.

  4. Elana Meyers Taylor to drive 4-man bobsled with husband as push athlete

    Oct 24, 2014, 8:42 AM EDT

    Elana Meyers Taylor AP

    New rule allows women to compete in four-man bobsled this year.

  5. Shani Davis ‘not completely healed’ from Sochi, still eyes record

    Oct 23, 2014, 8:11 PM EDT

    Shani Davis Getty Images

    Sochi disappointment gave Davis a deeper appreciation for past success going into post-Olympic season.

  6. Allyson Felix’s patience pays off in 2014, ready to explore again in 2015

    Oct 23, 2014, 3:14 PM EDT

    Allyson Felix Getty Images

    Felix came back from torn hamstring to post the fastest 200m time since the London Olympics.

  7. Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski preview Skate America

    Oct 23, 2014, 12:58 PM EDT

    Johnny Weir, Tara Lipinski Getty Images

    Several U.S. Olympians dot the field in Grand Prix series opener.

  8. Oscar Pistorius’ agent seeks prison meeting to discuss running future

    Oct 23, 2014, 11:59 AM EDT

    Oscar Pistorius Getty Images

    Pistorius is banned from competing during his sentence, even if not in jail, by Paralympic and South African Olympic Committees.

  9. Alpine skiing women’s World Cup preview

    Oct 23, 2014, 9:52 AM EDT

    Mikaela Shiffrin Getty Images

    Expect to see more of Mikaela Shiffrin and Lindsey Vonn than last year, but neither appears a threat to the world’s best overall skier.

  10. Serbia protests Kosovo receiving IOC provisional recognition

    Oct 23, 2014, 9:49 AM EDT

    Serbia flag Getty Images

    Kosovo, which gained independence from Serbia in 2008, could field an Olympic delegation for the first time in 2016.

  11. More Rulon Gardner items to be auctioned

    Oct 23, 2014, 9:31 AM EDT

    Rulon Gardner AP

    Gardner’s Olympic medals were sold last year.

  12. Joss Christensen skis remains of Sarajevo 1984 Winter Olympics sites (video)

    Oct 22, 2014, 5:06 PM EDT

    Joss Christensen

    Olympic ski slopestyle champion also needed rabies shots after dog bite.

  13. IOC provisionally recognizes Kosovo

    Oct 22, 2014, 3:25 PM EDT

    Witters Sport via US PRESSWIRE Witters Sport via US PRESSWIRE

    Kosovo has never competed at the Olympics as an independent nation.

  14. 2015 Tour de France route unveiled; favorites weigh in

    Oct 22, 2014, 1:22 PM EDT

    Tour de France

    Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome, Alberto Contador have mixed opinions.

  15. Russian Olympic bobsled champ Aleksander Zubkov retires

    Oct 22, 2014, 9:44 AM EDT

    Alexander Zubkov Getty Images

    Zubkov, 40, had already said he wouldn’t compete this season.

  16. Jeneba Tarmoh mulls representing Sierra Leone at Rio 2016 Olympics

    Oct 22, 2014, 9:16 AM EDT

    Jeneba Tarmoh Getty Images

    Tarmoh was part of the infamous tie at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials.

  17. IOC to discuss recognizing Kosovo this week

    Oct 22, 2014, 8:54 AM EDT

    Witters Sport via US PRESSWIRE Witters Sport via US PRESSWIRE

    Kosovo has yet to field a delegation at the Olympics.

  18. Watch trailers for ‘Touch the Wall’ about Missy Franklin

    Oct 21, 2014, 12:28 PM EDT

    Missy Franklin

    Film documenting Missy Franklin’s lead-up to London debuts next month.