Early wins launch Watson to IMCA Hobby Stock title

DES MOINES, Iowa – From the drop of the first green flag this season, John Watson put himself into position to contend for the IMCA Hobby Stock title at Boone Speedway.

Watson followed up an opening night victory at the speedway with a second place finish before reeling off eight straight wins through the end of June.

“We really didn’t focus on winning,” explained Watson, “but each week people asked us if we were going to win. Then we hit our streak and after four or five wins, we really couldn’t believe it.”

Even more impressive, this was the first full season Watson competed at the speedway. His goals were far from winning the track title, his first at Boone, by nearly 30 points.

“We wanted just to start and try to win at Boone. That’s hard to do from the sixth row,” he admitted.

With that success early in the 2012 campaign, Watson broadened his expectations and found himself in a battle in the national standings.

“We decided to start running four nights a week,” Watson said. “About halfway through, we had spent a lot of money and dropped to two nights a week to focus on Boone and Stuart.”

Despite cutting his race nights in half, Watson remained a contender and has been in the top five nationally all season.

Continuing his strong run into the second half of the season was in doubt after a last minute trip to Shelby County Speedway on a night Boone rained out. “We decided midway through the season if Boone rained out, we were going to Harlan.”

“We made it there after hot laps and only ran about a lap and a half,” Watson explained. “We got in a wreck and flipped. We thought we junked the car, so we put the old car together for the following week.”

After a week in his old ride, Watson and his crew put the new car back together, but the results weren’t the same as before the accident in Harlan. Recording no better than an eighth place finish over the following weeks, the Watson team spent more time in the shop to get the No. 4W back in winning condition.

“We thought we had problems with springs and shocks so we tore it all apart and put new springs and shocks on it,” Watson recalled.

That extra time in the shop paid off as Watson recorded two wins in the final three weeks at Boone, including a visit to victory lane on championship night to lock up the points championship.

As for 2013, even more time will be spent in the garage as Watson has been considering a new challenge next season. “The car is for sale,” Watson said. “If we sell it, we’ll move into a Stock Car.”

After giving it a little more thought, he continued, “With the new stuff out there and the experience we have in the shop, we’ve gone back and forth, but we’ll move to the Stock Cars, test the waters and try to go out and win some races.”

2012 Boone Speedway Stats

Starts: 17

Wins: 11

Top-5s: 14

Top-10s: 16

Team 4W Crew

Jamie Watson (wife), Jimmy Keenen (crew chief), Jamie Songer, Shannon Anderson, Danny Watson, Curt Reed, Andy Kaufman, Riley Songer.

Sponsors

Supreme Lawn and Landscaping, Big Daddy Chassis (Norfolk, Neb.), Yaw’s Auto, Auto Parts by Murray, Don’s Tire and Auto, Nutz Graphics, John’s Tree Service, Dairy Zone, Supreme Tire & Auto.

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