NASCAR crew member dies on eve of Cup race in Kansas City – Kansas City Star
A member of the Furniture Row Racing crew died Saturday night after suffering a heart attack at a local indoor go-kart track.
Jim Watson — the road-crew fabricator for Furniture Row, which owns and operates Martin Truex’s No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker Boats Toyota and Erik Jones’ 5-Hour Energy Toyota — is survived by his wife, Laurie, and daughter, Brittany.
Watson, 55, a Greenfield, Wis., native, and other members of the Furniture Row crew were at Extreme Grand Prix Family Fun Center in Raytown when he suffered the heart attack and was taken to Research Medical Center.
He worked for Roush Fenway Racing from 2006 to 2015 and spent last season with HScott Motorsports before moving to Denver-based Furniture Row in February 2017.
“On behalf of Furniture Row Racing we extend our deepest sympathies to Jim’s family,” Furniture Row Racing president Joe Garone said in a statement. “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.”
Jones and Truex both placed memorial decals with Watson’s first and last initials on a silhouette of the car number on the driver’s side C-post for Sunday’s race.
Truex won the spring race at Kansas Speedway and claimed the pole Friday for Sunday’s Hollywood Casino 400.
Jones was leading the Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 300 on Saturday before a late-race collision with Christopher Bell kept him from Victory Lane.