KANSAS CITY, Kansas – James “Jim” Watson, a fabricator for Furniture Row Racing, died Saturday night after suffering a heart attack, the team stated Sunday morning. Watson was 55.
A native of Greenfield, Wisconsin, Watson 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. He was a long-time racer, competing in dirt late models and asphalt super late models throughout Southeast Wisconsin.
Watson was with the team this weekend at Kansas Speedway.
He is survived by wife Laurie and daughter Brittany.
“On behalf of Furniture Row Racing we extend our deepest sympathies to Jim’s family,” said Joe Garone, president of Furniture Row Racing. “He was an outstanding and talented member of our racing family, whose life was dedicated to racing since his early days as a race-car driver in Wisconsin. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Jim’s wife Laurie, daughter Brittany and to his entire family and friends. Our No. 77 and 78 teams will be racing with heavy hearts today.”
Furniture Row Racing was able to honor Watson as Martin Truex Jr. visited victory lane for the seventh time this year, giving the team a sweep its home track this season.
“Certainly thinking about … Jim (Watson) … and his family,” Truex told NBCSN. “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.”