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Thread: The Watson Dirt Champ cars

  1. #1

    The Watson Dirt Champ cars

    Hi,

    I'm trying to find out how many Watson Dirt Champ cars were built and their racing history.

    After I found this photo here and read the article published in "Vintage Motorsport" magazine Mar/Apr. 2005, I can trace at least the records of two existing cars:

    The one from the magazine
    (actual owners: Louis Timolat/Richard Freshman)
    was the second Leader Card entry:
    1963 #4 Leader Car Duo Spl. (Don Branson) car debuted at Trenton April 21
    1964 #5 Wynn's Friction Proofing Spl. (Don Branson)
    1965 #4 Wynn's (Don Branson)
    1966 #4 Leader Card Spl. (Don Branson)
    1967 #6 Rislone Spl. (Bobby Unser)
    1968 #3 Rislone Spl. (Bobby Unser)
    1969 #1 Bardhal Spl. (Bobby Unser)
    1970 #3 Warner Lokheed Spl. (Bobby Unser) car retired after a race at Terre Haute latter that year

    The one from the photo
    according to what is writen on car and Phil Harms' results: (I don't know who is the actual owner)
    was the Agajanian-Faas Racers entry as above:
    1964 #98 Agajanian Bowes Seal Fast Spl. (Parnelli Jones)
    1965 #98 Agajanian Hurst Spl. (George Snider)
    1966 #98 Agajanian REV 500 Spl. (Dick Atkins)
    1967 #98 Agajanian REV 500 Spl. (Bill Vukovich)
    1968 #98 Wagner Lokheed Brake Fluid Spl. (Bill Vukovich)
    1969 #98 Wagner Lokheed Spl. (Bill Vukovich)
    1970 #98 Wynn's Spitfire Spl. (Bruce Walkup)
    according to the photo the car was raced by Sam Sessions on 1971-72 (I supose on Silver Crown, but which number he had? #12 with King'O Lawn sponsor?)

    For the others I checked with Phil Harms results 1956-1971 and I can compile this:

    the HOW car
    from 1956 to 1961 #21 HOW Special every year mostly with Elmer George at the Wheel. I supose it was always the same car. I don't know who was the owner/team of that car.

    the Jonh Zink car
    1956 #8 and #18 John Zink Spl. (Pat Flaherty, Pat O'Connor and Ed Elisian)
    1957 #2 and #25 John Zink Spl. (Jud Larson)
    1958 #5 John Zink Spl. (Jud Larson)
    1959 #1 John Zink Heater Spl. (Tony Bettenhausen, Lloyd Ruby)
    1960 #28 John Zink Spl. (Tony Bettenhausen, Bob Tattersall)
    1961 #56 John Zink Trackburner Spl. (Lloyd Ruby)
    1962 #52 John Zink Trackburner Spl. (Chuck Hulse)
    latter that year a #26 Ward Machine Spl. (Colby Scoggin) appears on dirt tracks, and might be this car or anything else.
    1963 #26 Ward Machine Spl. (Colby Scoggin)

    one Leader Card car
    1959 #5 Leader Card Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1960 #1 Leader Card Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1961 #2 Leader Card Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1962 #3 Leader Card Spl. (Rodger Ward, Len Sutton)
    1963 #1 Kent Aluminum Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1964 #2 Kaiser Aluminum Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1965 #2 Wynn's Spl. (Johnny Rutherford) latter as Mog St. Louis Spl.
    1966 #12 Wynn's Spl. (Chuck Hulse)
    1967 #90 Leader Card Racers Spl. (Jim Hurtubise, Jerry Daniels, Chuck Hulse)
    1968 #90 Zecol-Lubaid Spl. (George Snider)
    1969 #90 Zecol-Lubaid Spl. (Mike Mosley)
    1970 #9 G.C. Murphy Spl. (Mike Mosley)

    the other Leader Card car
    1962 #7 Leader Card Spl. (Don Branson)

    I count six cars but the time span of the leader car seams too much longer... but's only a guess.

    any corrections/comments/photos on this?

    regards
    Luis Mateus
    www.geocities.com/portugalracers

  2. #2
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    Interesting question. AJ and Jud Phillips built cars together in the early 50's, like the Bob Estes car. There were others I have seen noted in race recaps. Then AJ always tried to improve on things. In 1962, he went to a coil over suspension instead of cross torsion. I don't think it caught on, probably shocks weren't up to snuff then. In the early 60's the Meskowski dirt car was the car of choice, or maybe it was because AJ didn't want to sell his dirt car to others, see Foyt's record.

    In 1959, Rodger ward drove 2 different dirt cars, the 5 and the 52. On was a left exhaust and the other a right exhaust. 52 denoted as "DUO", don't know the meaning.

    As I recall 1964, he built cars for others, ie the Agajainian car for parnelli, a number 78 that Chuck Hulse drove also comes to mind.

    jimmy Bryan was killed in the 1960 version #1 at Langhorne. It was a cross torsion car, may have been the #5 from 1959.

    That's what I recall off the top of my head
    "Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
    body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting
    "...holy $^!+...what a ride!"
    >

  3. #3
    There are others, IIRC.

    Watson built a new dirt car sometime in 1972 I believe, debuted by Al Unser (yes AL Unser) at DuQuoin. That car ran as part of the Leader Card/Watson operation for a number of years, until finally retired sometime in the 1990's. I believe Mosely's kid was the last driver.

    The Plastic Express/Junior Kurtz owned machine is a Watson that was finished by Dick Cecil and started life in the late 70's, but not run until 1981. That car's last year was 1992 and I think Junior still has it.

    I believe Donnie Lehmann and Bob Cicconi both had Watson dirt cars at one point. The Genessee Beer Wagon was a Watson for a long time.

    I'll have to d some looking, but I believe there were a number of dirt cars built by Watson.
    "For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our children's future, and we are all mortal".

    John Kennedy at American University 1963

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power"

    A. Lincoln

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by brickyard

    one Leader Card car
    1959 #5 Leader Card Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1960 #1 Leader Card Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1961 #2 Leader Card Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1962 #3 Leader Card Spl. (Rodger Ward, Len Sutton)
    1963 #1 Kent Aluminum Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1964 #2 Kaiser Aluminum Spl. (Rodger Ward)
    1965 #2 Wynn's Spl. (Johnny Rutherford) latter as Mog St. Louis Spl.
    1966 #12 Wynn's Spl. (Chuck Hulse)
    1967 #90 Leader Card Racers Spl. (Jim Hurtubise, Jerry Daniels, Chuck Hulse)
    1968 #90 Zecol-Lubaid Spl. (George Snider)
    1969 #90 Zecol-Lubaid Spl. (Mike Mosley)
    1970 #9 G.C. Murphy Spl. (Mike Mosley)
    This was also the car that Jimmy Bryan crashed in at Langhorne when he took Ward's place. This car also won the first USAC National Dirt Track Championship (I think that's what they called it then) in 1971 with George Snider driving after the mile dirt tracks became a separate series. I believe it ran for several years after that but I'm not sure of the history.

  5. #5
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    I had thought the coil over had become the hot supsension back around when Jimmy Bryan was killed. It wasn't? Just learned about the era from books, never saw it.

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