Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Memorial Service Scheduled for Jim Watson

Memorial Service Scheduled for Jim Watson

77 and 78 Teams Celebrate in Victory Lane Together to Honor 'Wildman Watson'


Jim Watson, a fabricator for Furniture Row Racing, tasked in a number of roles for both the No. 78 of Martin Truex Jr. and No. 77 of Erik Jones. Jim, affectionately known in the garages as the “Wildman” had been a member of Furniture Row Racing since February. He worked for Roush Fenway Racing from 2006-15 and spent last season with HScott Motorsports.

Jim Watson passed away Saturday night after suffering a heart attack in Kansas City, Kansas. He was there with his teams to prepare for Sunday’s NASCAR Cup race.

The family will receive friends of the man from 4-6 p.m. Warlick Funeral Home is located at 125 Dave Warlick Drive in Lincolnton, N.C.

Watson was born Sept. 27, 1962, in Kenosha, Wis., to Betty Paulus Watson and the late David Harrison Watson. He is survived by his wife, Laurie Ann Watson; a daughter, Brittany May Watson; his mother, Betty L. Watson; brother, Mike Watson; stepchildren, Eric James Conover and fiancé Claudia Rodriguez, and Matthew Sean Conover; Michael Patrick Conover, and wife Michele, and Nicholas Ian Conover; three grandchildren, Patrick Michael Conover, Michael Winston Conover, and Coleton Daniel Conover; nieces, Jennifer Watson and Katie J. Ballou; and many other uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends.

Sunday’s Monster Energy NASCAR Sprint Cup Winner, Martin Truex Jr. honored his fallen team member.

Certainly thinking about … Jim (Watson) … and his family, Truex lamented. “It’s crazy how things happen like that. (crew chief) Cole (Pearn) texted me last night at 11 o’clock, said he was at the hospital and I’m like ‘What are you talking about?’ It’s tragic. He was a huge part of this team, fabricating for both cars at the race track and making sure we get through tech which is quite a challenge at times.

Just definitely racing with heavy hearts, we were all talking about him before the race, just wanted to do good for him. I know he’d love to be here celebrating with us. Proud of everybody just for sticking with me and never giving up. Today was definitely a challenge but fast cars prevail I guess and good teams prevail. Just got to thank everybody and again the Watson family, thinking about you guys. You’re in our thoughts.

When Truex won in the past, it had just been the No. 78 crew that gathered in Victory Lane. Sunday, the No. 77 crew also joined Truex’s team to celebrate a win and a life.

When Truex won in the past, it had just been the No. 78 crew that gathered in Victory Lane. Sunday, the No. 77 crew also joined Truex’s team to celebrate a win and a life.

“Chris (Gayle) and I came to it … that if either one of us were fortunate enough to win, we’d both go to Victory Lane because Jim worked on both of our cars and was a part of both of our teams,’’ Cole Pearn. (Gayle and Pearn are the Crew Chiefs for the 77 and 78 respectively.) It proved a fitting honor for Jim Watson.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorials may be made to hatsalive.org* in memory of Jim.

*Helping Animals to Survive (HATS) have a number of programs in place that help ensure every animal in the community gets a chance, all of which are supported by wonderful volunteers.

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