Four years ago Chuck Watson’s father won the NHRA Summit Racing Equipment NHRA Nationals and today the driver from Grosse Ile, Mich., raced to his first Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown final and won his first race less than three months after his father passed away. Watson, the No. 2 qualifier, took out Arthur Kohn, Stephen Bell, Scott Libersher and finally Bill Skillman to secure the win. The victory moved the racer from tenth in the point standings to sixth.
“This is my first Factory Stock Showdown win and my first final round,” said an emotional Watson in the winner’s circle of Summit Motorsports Park. “This was very emotional for me and my team. My father won this event four years ago and he passed away this March. To win my first Factory Stock Showdown at this track four years later, this is a very emotional moment.”
The competition was tough for all the racers and Watson felt the pressure throughout the day. In addition to over two dozen competitors, rainstorms blew through and forced multiple race delays which extended racing action well into the night.
“This was a tough field. There were 27 race cars entered and everybody is very competitive,” sad Watson. “We had a lot of weather issues and we weathered the storm for the win. We chomped our way to the top and I couldn’t be more excited.”
The semifinal round pitted Watson’s Chevrolet COPO Camaro against Scott Libersher’s Ford Cobra jet, while eventual finalist and fellow Ford racer Bill Skillman took on No. 1 qualifier and Camaro racer David Barton. Both Blue Ovals prevailed on Sunday in Norwalk, Ohio.
“It was pretty cool to get two Fords in the final and I think we did them proud. They should be happy with our results,” said Watson.
Watson had to dig deep in a number of rounds to reach this career milestone, but he credited his team for giving him a great race car.
“I fought the tree a little bit,” admitted Watson. “I was doing Ok but there were a couple of times I had bad lights. Thank God for my engine builder and tuner Kim Mapes. He gave me an awesome machine to get the job done.”
With the win Watson now becomes the driver to beat for the $1,000 Factory Stock Showdown bounty. In the semifinal round Skillman claimed an additional $1,000 when he defeated David Barton, the most recent winner. Watson was eager to assume the added focus from his fellow competitors.
“We will see what happens when it comes to the bounty. I say bring it,” challenged Watson.
With three races in the books for the 2021 Constant Aviation Factory Stock Showdown, the competition is heating up heading into the NHRA Mile-High Nationals in Denver, Colorado, July 16-178. The fourth race of the eight-race specialty series will feature an ongoing battle between Chevrolet COPO Camaro, Ford Mustang Cobra Jet and the Dodge Mopar Challenger Drag Pak and a tough field of contenders led by most recent winner Watson, Houston winner Barton as well as point leader Aaron Stanfield.