RPW Exclusive: Jeff Watson’s Set To Take To The Track With A Purpose In ’19; Honoring A Friend

Column By: BOBBY CHALMERS / RPW – SHEFFIELD, MA – Many cars are iconic in racing. The Lape 22. Jumpin’ Jack’s 12A. Tommy Corellis’ Hughes Brothers 57. Well, in the mid 80’s at Lebanon Valley, one that stood out and was a winner on many occasions was the Schuman Watson #10 in the 320 Small Block class driven by multi-time track champion Danny Watson.

This season, when the Sportsman events roll around, fans will be able to relive those memories as Danny’s son, Jeff, brings that legendary paint scheme back for a special reason.

Around mid-2018, John Schuman, who has been instrumental in both Danny and Jeff’s racing careers, went to Pete Chuckta at PMC Race Cars and ordered a new machine for Jeff to race…unknown to anyone in the Watson team.

“Johnny purchased the car last June and I had no idea,” Watson said. “When he told me he bought the car, I had it set in my mind that I wanted to do a throwback paint scheme to thank him.”

Unfortunately, Jeff was never able to let one of the men who was instrumental in his racing career know. Schuman passed away before he could.

“He bought the car before he passed away last July and I had no idea,” he said. “He meant so much to me and my family. I wish he was able to see this. I wish I had been able to show him my plans.”

So this season, the iconic #10 is coming back. The car was unveiled at the Kingfish Car Show in early April and drew a lot of attention. For 2019, Jeff will return to the Sportsman class at the Valley where he’s a multi-time track champion, and is determined, now more than ever, to get the #10 back to victory lane.

“It would mean everything to win in the #10,” he said. “My dad won more races in a five to six year span in that paint scheme than any other during his career. It would be awesome.”

It would also be amazing for Jeff so that he could honor his fallen friend.

“Johnny was more than just a supporter,” he said. “He was more than just my car owner. He was more than just a sponsor or a crew member. He was truly a great friend. He was family. The Schuman’s owned my dad’s cars for a long time. He meant and did a lot for me and my career and was family to me. He will be greatly missed.”

In one small way, Jeff just wants to show Schuman how much he appreciated his support and friendship.

“I really want to win a race in ‘that’ car,” he said. “Johnny believed in me. I want to show him that I will forever try to return the favor.”