Dick Watson
Class of 2003

Dick Watson began and ended his career at the Waterford Speedbowl. From that first race in 1953 until his retirement in 1976, Dick competed at tracks across New England including; West Haven, Plainville Stadium, Lonsdale Rhode Island (teamed with Joe McNulty), Seekonk, Langhorne (dirt & paved), Norwood Arena, Thompson International Speedway and Stafford Motor Speedway.

Dick started driving “cut downs” in the early 50s. Watson carved a name for himself, winning firstly in 1954 at Plainville Stadium with his own car the #4; and continued regular wins for owners like John Lasier of Middlefield, Ct. in a Flat Head Ford Sportsman; Then at Waterford Speedbowl with John Barnett in the #7-11 “Gold Scorpion”; the famous Bill Condon's #76; One of Dick's most well known rides is the Bob Garbarino V-4, “Mystic Missile” which he and Garbarino ran at Waterford and in 1965 he gained the Connecticut State Modified Championship. In 1966 this team moved forward into the NASCAR Modified Division. They moved up in a big way, winning the Thompson Speedway World Series.

Dick scored top ten point finishes at Thompson in 1966 and '67, and at Stafford in '67 and '68, competing against some of the very best modified drivers of the era, including Hall of Famers; Fred DeSarro, Bugs Stevens, Gene Bergin, Leo Cleary, and Bill Slater. Dick competed in several Grand National (Winston Cup) races, in a car owned by E.J. Trivette out of Atlanta, GA. In 1969, at the Thompson 200 he was running fifth on lap 180, with eventual winner David Pearson, when a mechanical failure forced him out of the race with an 11th place finish.

In 1972 Watson turned back to Waterford Speedbowl driving Norm Kies’ #21; and Fred Beabers Checker Board #716.

Watson hung up his helmet after a violent crash during a qualifying heat at Waterford Speedbowl in 1976, where he suffered a concussion, lower back injuries, and several broken ribs. He still competes, at the annual "Heroes of the Bowl Race" at the Waterford Speedbowl. He has continued his winning style with victories in 1993, 1995, 2000, and 2002.

Today, we welcome a true “gentleman“ of the sport of auto racing, Dick Watson, into the NEAR Hall of Fame.


Dick is inducted by Race Track Announcer and Radio Show host, Gary Danko.