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Indianapolis 500 car builder AJ Watson dies aged 90

Rodger Ward wins the 1959 Indianapolis 500

Iconic Indianapolis 500 chief mechanic and car builder AJ Watson has died at the age of 90.

Watson achieved four Indy 500 victories as a chief mechanic to Bob Sweikert (1955), Pat Flaherty (1956) and Rodger Ward (1959, pictured and '62) and six as a constructor, with Flaherty and Ward's wins in Watson machines added to by Jim Rathmann, Parnelli Jones and AJ Foyt's 1960, '63 and '64 triumphs in the cars.

Foyt earned 11 of his 67 career wins driving Watson or Watson-Trevis roadsters, and also achieved considerable success at the wheel of Watson sprint cars.

"He was a pioneer," said Foyt. "He came out against Kurtis and built the Watson roadster and I was lucky enough to win with it.

"In his day, there was nobody that was going to beat the three Ws: Watson, [Ralph] Wilke and Ward. It's hard to believe he's gone."

Doug Boles, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, also paid tribute.

"The Watson roadster that was so prevalent in the 1950s and 1960s remains one of the most iconic racing cars ever constructed," he said.

"The thoughts and prayers of the entire Indianapolis Motor Speedway organisation are with the Watson family and the many friends and fans of AJ Watson, who will always remember him for his passion for racing and his friendly and approachable personality."

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