The Indianapolis 500 has lost one of its great competitors just weeks before the 2014 running of the famous race. A.J. Watson (pictured above left) competed multiple times from 1948 to 1984 as a designer, crew chief and mechanic, scoring six wins in his career with his own chassis at the Yard of Bricks. Watson died shortly after his 90th birthday.

Watson competed in the Indy 500 for the first time in 1948 as a mechanic for a team and entered his own chassis for the first time in 1950, at just 26 years old. However, his big breakthrough came in 1956 when he created the Watson Roadster. The racecar featured a drivetrain set to the left of the driver to improve cornering around the oval, and its driver, Pat Flaherty, won the race. From then, his platform won in '59, '60, '62, '63 and '64. While Watson's biggest racing successes came in the '50s and '60s, he continued working in motorsports through the '80s.

"He was a pioneer. He came out against Kurtis and built the Watson roadster and I was lucky enough to win with it," said famous racing driver A.J. Foyt to National Speed Sport News. Foyt won in a Watson chassis in the '64 Indy 500.

Racing has clearly lost one of its icons, and our condolences go out to his friends and family.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Marvin Thayer
      • 1 Year Ago
      Watson won in only roadsters. He was the king of the roadsters. His roadsters with the engine and drivetrain offset to the left, revolutionized the roadster for the remainder of it's engineering lifespan. Foyt was the last one to win the 500 in a roadster, and I believe that Jim Hurtubise qualified the last roadster in a 500 in 1968. He put the #56 on the outside of the 10th row, in 30th position and was out after nine laps. He redesigned the car for 1969, but never made a run. Hurtubise also ran the last front engine car to race at Michigan in 1972.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds like he was great inventor and designed Indy cars to be faster before and after they went to rear-engine layout.
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