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Timothy Watson – On the Fast Track to NASCAR

BY TAMMALA SPENCER; PHOTOS BY TAMMALA SPENCER

A young, very competitive and winning Panama City kart driver has the dream of seeing the checkered flag of NASCAR through his windshield in just a few years.

Timothy Watson

Eleven-year old Timothy Watson, a fifth grader at Tommy Smith Elementary, is an outstanding and award winning math student.Monday through Friday, he occasionally explains the weight and balance theory, aerodynamics and the theory of relativity to his peers. Then, during the weekends, he races his kart while he systematically analyzes every inch of it.After a few pre-race practice rounds, Timothy drives off the track to explain in detail to the pit boss, his dad, what the kart needs so he can finish the next race in first place. This is not a traditional go-cart or yard cart, this is a racing kart spelled with a “k”.

Timothy Watson

Timothy’s dad, Michael, says that Timothy may come off the track and say, “Dad, it’s tight.” Michael explains that means in their language, “The kart is tight and doesn’t optimally accelerate through the corners and that could mean there is either not enough cross weight or there is too much cross weight and the best way to tell is to take a look at the tires.” Timothy’s brain is constantly preoccupied with making his race kart faster so on the track he’s always evaluating it during the practice races. Timothy typically evaluates whether “it’s tight,” “it’s loose,” “it’s free,” or “it’s pushing” during the first laps.

In August 2014, Florida Representative Matt Gaetz presented Timothy with the Florida Scholar Award for achieving the highest level scores in the state for math in his level of testing. His teachers are proud.Ms.Cecilia Maddox, his third grade teacher, advises that Timothy finds new ways to show his classmates how to solve math problems and, even for writing assignments, he uses his family’s racing experiences as topics. With determination, Timothy focuses on two things; racing and school.He tells us that his favorite subjects are math, science, P.E.and lunch.

Timothy Watson

When it’s time for a racing event, the close-knit Watson family begins preparations early by loading karts in the trailers along with spare parts, motors, and lots of tires. Timothy’s mom loads the RV with the family’s favorite foods and on Friday they are off for the weekend to regional racing tracks as far north as the Mid- Atlantic states and as far south as Daytona, Florida.

The first time Timothy decided to race, he was three-years old. He drove onto the track and pulled up to the starting line in his battery-operated car. His dad looked up, and decided then he would custom size a kart for his son.Four-year old Timothy took to the track and has won many races since. He proudly shows his medals and trophies. He is most proud of the trophy he won in the Ryan Flowers’ Memorial Race because it meant more than just a win. Ryan Flowers was a scholar student and outstanding volunteer in his Kinard community who lost his life at 17. The race was held to raise funds in his honor for a scholarship fund for future outstanding students.

Timothy remarks “I like to race.Racing is important to me and I am focused.I like the speed. It’s fun for me.God has blessed me. I get to do it with my family and I plan to do it all the way ‘til I see that NASCAR checkered flag through my windshield.”

The minimum age for NASCAR Motor Speedway races is 18 but there are some preliminary NASCAR-type races such as the K & N Regional Series that offer driver development.

During a race, Timothy’s focus is the kart’s performance as he scopes out the track ahead. He is looking for the next break, the next inch of open track. With only two to four-inches between him and the next kart at 80 mph, he has to be focused. Michael will remind Timothy to “stay smooth with his hands and feet.” Michael says, “I remind Timothy to keep his hands steady and smooth to move. Don’t snatch, just turn. I don’t want him to lift and press the gas, lift and press. I tell him to imagine that there is an egg between his foot and the gas pedal and apply pressure slowly and don’t break that egg.”

Timothy is known as a fierce competitor and a high performance driver.Asked now what his advice to his younger self would have been when he started at age four, Timothy says, “I’d tell myself to stay smooth through the corners. Hold it wide open and full throttle all the way around the track.”

The Watson family and young Timothy are very well respected in the circuit. They believe that God will keep them safe as they build karts and motors and race and race and race. Michael and his wife, Megan, are making plans now to move Timothy from karts to autos. The races, tracks, and autos may change but the driver will remain the same.

 

Wins 2015:

WKA World Dirt Championship in Daytona Two 3rd place finishes in Jr1 and 5th place finish in Pro Jr1

Tri State South 2nd place finish in the Pro Jr1 and 8th in the Jr1

Southern Thunder Maxxis Series Three 1st place finishes in Jr1, Pro Jr1 and Pro Jr2

NKL Swampwater Nationals 3rd place finish in Jr2 and 8th in Jr1

Wins 2014:

Two Jr1 Southern Thunder Maxxis Championships

Qualified and finished 13th in the Maxxis Nationals

2nd place finish in the South Georgia Maxxis Series

29 First Place Regional Wins, 11 Second Place Regional Wins, and

1 Third Place Regional Win Regular Racing Season

In 2014 Timothy finished in the Nationals 13th overall out of 48 Jr1 kart drivers.

Wins 2013:

(First Year to race in the Southern Thunder Maxxis Series.)

Qualified for the Maxxis Nationals his first year racing in a state series.

Fourth in the Jr 1A Southern Thunder Maxxis Series Overall

Fifth in the Jr 1B Overall 25 first place race finishes

10 top five place finishes

10 top 10 place finishes in this 2013 Southern Thunder Maxxis Series.

Wins 2012:

12 Regional First Place Wins

3 Regional Second Place Finishes

3 Regional Race Third Place Finishes

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