Logan Watson of Upatoi may only be 22 years old and a sophomore general business major at Columbus State, but he already knows what he wants to do for a living: be a professional drag racer.
"I would love to drive (in the National Hot Rod Association series, the sport's top level)," said Watson, who currently competes in the Super Pro division at several different tracks around the Southeast.
"That's the main reason why I'm racing. I want to be the best and go as far as I can go. Next year, I'm going to try to step up to the national level and run some Super Comp (division) events.
"I've been talking to some people here in town and they convinced me to start running some Super Comp races.
"That's the next step up the ladder and if I do well there, I may get some chances to keep moving up. Being in the NHRA is what I want to do one day."
The Super Pro division features cars that look like the NHRA's Top Fuel division's cars, but are more compact than those on the sport's top level.
"The car I'm driving now is one of the best racecars we've ever bought," said Watson. "It's just super consistent and been a hell of a car. It's saved me so many times and I've never won without it."
Watson started drag racing at age 14, but his roots in the sport go back much further.
"I started when I was 14 years old over in Phenix City," said Watson.
"I started driving at bigger tracks when I turned 18 and have been doing that for about four years.
"My dad started doing it when I was four or five and he took me to the race track all the time. We've been doing it ever since.
"When I got older, I told him I wanted to drive and he bought me my first car. We go everywhere to race, places like the Atlanta Dragway, South Georgia Motorsports Park in Adel, Montgomery and Silver Dollar Raceway (in Reynolds)."
Watson spends between 15 and 20 hours per week working on his car to get it ready for the next weekend's racing.
"Basically, it's like a part-
time job," said Watson. "We wind up doing everything from tightening up anything that's come loose, going over the bolts, cleaning the car, checking the fluids and anything else you can think of.
"But it's not only my racecar. We have to take our golf cart out and make sure it's good to go, fill the fuel jugs and work on my uncle's 1969 Camaro. I started in that car, he still races it and we have to work on that, too."
Watson has enjoyed a lot of success recently, placing third in the Super Pro Division at the NHRA Division II Finals at the Atlanta Dragway after winning the Super Pro points championship at Silver Dollar Raceway last month. The points title was Watson's first of his career and came as the result of a furious comeback over the last few weeks of the season.
"The last four weeks of the season, I went to the semis, went to the semis, finished runner-up and won," said Watson. After the week where I finished as the runner-up, I moved up to second in the points standings, but I still trailed by about 40 points. The last week, I got paired up with the guy ahead of me (Randy Prince) when we were down to nine cars and it was the first time I'd raced against him all year. I managed to beat him and once I did that, I just wanted to go ahead and not just win the points title, but win the weekend as well. I'd been to the finals five times, but never won. I won in the finals and not only won the weekend, but won the points title, too."
Even though he's had his share of success thus far in his career, Watson said winning the points championship was a big relief.
"It was the end of a lot of frustration to win that points title and to win in the finals," said Watson. "I was tired of going to the finals and losing. I just said, 'I'm going to go in here and do it.' and we went and did it. It was the most incredible feeling. My uncle and dad had won in my car, but I never could. It got to where it felt like a curse. Now that I've knocked it out, I feel like it's going to be easier for me to do it again. It gives me confidence to finally do it."
Along with taking third in the Division II Finals and winning the points title at Silver Dollar, Watson recently finished in the top 3 at the Race of Champions (an exclusive event open to the Super Pro points champions in the Southeast Region) in Commerce, competed in another weekend of racing in Montgomery and was at the Silver Dollar Finals this past weekend as well.
His racing schedule is winding down, though, and Watson said he's looking forward to some time off, even if he's still going to be working on his racecar to get ready for the 2014 season.
"I tell you what, these past couple of weeks, I've been so busy," said Watson. "After we get done with the Silver Dollar Finals, we have to get the car ready again, because we're going to leave Thursday go to South Georgia (Motorsports Park) in Adel and we'll be racing there from Thursday until Sunday. After that, we'll be done for the season. There's been no down time since I won the points title. I love it, but I'm ready for a break to get things back together. You can race year-round if you want, but we quit in November and start back up in March. We'll take some time to rebuild the motor, paint the cars and do some other things. We have to take some off-time to get everything back to where needs to be for next year."