Being called a "racer" in this business is the highest compliment you can give someone and for those who don't follow this sport the "racer" mentality is something they really can't comprehend or fathom.  That's why insiders could cheer how the Furniture Row Racing team dealt with a tragedy competing in Kansas last weekend while some outsiders couldn't understand why they didn't pack up and go home.

Last Saturday night members of the FFR road crew went out to eat and have a little fun before the Monster Energy Cup Series cut off race.  Among the group was 55-year-old team fabricator Jim "Wildman" Watson, who had been involved in the sport at one level or another just about his whole life.

Even on their downtime, the guy wanted to smell more exhaust fumes and burning rubber.  "Yeah they went out go?kart racing and he (Jim) was excited to go," said Martin Truex, Jr.'s crew chief Cole Pearn.  "They were just sitting there, and he had a heart attack and kind of keeled over when they were done.  I know he just texted his wife not long before that telling her how good a time he was having.  I take a little bit of solace in that, that he was happy in his last moments."

He was doing what "racers" do.

"Cole texted me at like 11:15 or something, said, I'm at the hospital.  Jim just had a heart attack and they lost him, they couldn't get him going," recalled Truex. "Just a shame you know to see. He's got family at home. It's hard to deal with that."

Truex, who usually goes to bed late, had plenty of time to reflect when he hung up the phone with Pearn.  The wheels began spinning and the New Jersey native began dreaming up mental pictures of winning the race the following day as way to honor their fallen teammate.

He was doing what "racers" do.

Members of the 77 and 78 teams were at the hospital till after midnight, but they still needed time together. "We all kind of met back at the hotel," said Pearn. "We just hugged each other. I mean, nothing you can really say."  They didn't need to talk because each one knew what every one of them was thinking…we need to win for Jim.

They showed up at the track later that morning with a silent resolve to make sure one of their two cars grabbed the checkered flag. "It was also a kind of a quiet, fired up fashion," Truex explained. "It was like let's go kick their butts for Jim, let's go do it for him."

They were doing what "racers" do.

What happened in the third race of the Playoff's second round matched their whole weekend.  It was an emotional roller coaster.  The car was fast, but twice Truex found himself way behind because of a loose wheel and a penalty.  While his brain was computing all the moves he needed to make to snake his way back to the front, the 37-year-old driver never stopped thinking, "Fight, fight baby. Never give up, this one's for Jim." 

He was doing what "racers" do.

Turns out there would be an ending scripted right out of Hollywood with Truex racing away and easily getting the much desired win for Jim. "We rallied together and kept focused on what we needed to do," stated Furniture Row Racing General Manager Joe Garone. "It's just amazing that we were able to win the race and win it to honor him and his family."

"It's a part of life unfortunately," expressed Truex. "The best we could do is win for him, in his honor. Just celebrate his life and what he meant to us, the job he did for us."

Added Pearn, "We knew that was the best thing we could do for Jim.  He's a true racer, in the purest form.  I know that's what he would have wanted."

Yes it is.  Why?

They did what "racers" always do.