Division 4 - Watson Racing spotlight

Division 4 Comp Spotlight: Watson Racing HUMBLE, Texas - If one doesn't get you, the other may. At least when it comes to NHRA Division 4 Comp Eliminator when talking about the Watson Racing 'clan.' This season the combination of drivers...

Division 4 Comp Spotlight: Watson Racing

HUMBLE, Texas - If one doesn't get you, the other may. At least when it comes to NHRA Division 4 Comp Eliminator when talking about the Watson Racing 'clan.' This season the combination of drivers Ernest Watson, Sr., and his nephew Charlie Watson, Jr., have proved to be a powerful 1-2 punch, with Charlie sitting second in Division 4 points while Ernest is not far behind in fourth. Both of these racers' potent Super Mod entries stand a legitimate chance at the Division 4 Championship.

Both racers are based out of Humble, Texas, where they operate the family business, Southern Sandblasting. Ernest Watson, Sr., started the company 13 years ago which specializes in sandblasting large vessels such as ships, drilling barges and refineries. Charlie acts as shop manager for the company, overseeing job site assembly and disassembly.

While sandblasting may be the family business, the family pastime is clearly drag racing. Ernest got his start drag racing in 1965, driving his '65 Mustang in Mobile, Al. It snowballed from there.

"I had a '65 Mustang I raced back in Mobile, Al.," said Ernest. "That's where we're originally from - Alabama. After that car I got a Dodge Dart Swinger I ran in Super Stock. I won Top Eliminator at Mobile in '73 with that car. At one point I won my class 32 straight weekends. It was a fast, consistent car. It was a lot of fun, too. I quit racing for 20 years after that car."

Ernest would return to his roots in the Super Stock ranks, but it didn't take him long to make the move to Comp Eliminator.

"I bought a 1955 Chevy I was racing in Super Stock when Charlie started racing Comp back in '99," stated Ernest. "They parked me way down the pits from Charlie, so I bought a Beretta to run in Comp so we could race together."

Charlie got his start racing with his father, Charlie, Sr., at dirt tracks around Southern Alabama. He then made his move to the asphalt straight track in 1989.

"I started out bracket racing locally around Mobile," commented Charlie. "Then we stepped up to the Dixie Pro Stock circuit in '89. I grew up racing around dirt track with my dad, who still races with me as my Crew Chief. In 1994 we started running Super Gas, then we decided to get a Comp car in '99. We bought a Chevy Lumina we ran in H and G/Altered. We ran that car all the way until last year. It was a fun car to race and we held the national record several times in H and G with that car."

Last season both Watsons made the move away from their traditional Altered chassis to Eastexas Racecars Super Mod chassis. Ernest purchased Rodger Brogdon's former division champ C/Super Mod '04 Cavalier, while Charlie took delivery of a new '07 Cobalt he competes in H/Super Mod. Power is supplied by David Cook, Sr.; carburetion is handled by David Cook, Jr., of DC Carbs., while Craig Gallant of GTP Performance handles the headwork.

"I just love this car," cited Ernest. "The five speed is fun, but most of my cars have been automatics, so we're going to switch my car back to run C/Super Mod Automatic."

"These Super Mods are a totally different animal," added Charlie. "I definitely like it, it's just taking some getting used to. It's a lot smoother ride and a lot quieter. It also has a lot more visibility and I never realized how useful the mirrors are."

Both racers have plans to stay in Comp Eliminator for the foreseeable future with the same goal of winning the Division 4 Championship. With the performance both have shown this season, it may happen sooner than later.

The Division 4 Comp Shootout Bonus Fund awards $6,000 per event to Competition Eliminator racers on top of the event payout. The Shootout is supported by sponsors Roof-Tec, NAPA Auto Parts, Southern Sand Blasting, Kent Services, Johnson Truck & Trailer, Carbery Fabrication, Ballistic Race Craft, Elite Motorsports and Medders Construction.

Another bonus the Division 4 Comp Eliminator Shootout offers racers is the Roof-Tec Luck of the Draw Bonus. At each event, before the first qualifying session, a number is drawn out of a hat from one to 32. If that qualifier wins the event, he or she will get the bonus fund amount. If there is no winner, the money rolls over to the next race. The bonus is currently at $7,000 for the next race in Shreveport, La., Sept. 7-9. If there is no winner by the final event in Noble, Okla., the $8,000 will go to the winner of that event.

-credit: division4 comp shootout

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Series NHRA
Drivers Rodger Brogdon