Beginning 1959 Watson cars were the gold standard in national championship racing, winning the Sweepstakes annually and dominating the field. They were simple and effective rides at the Speedway and on the national championship tracks, eschewing gimmicks like laid-over engines. Once again there were complaints of technological staleness surrounding the “500.” The various attempts over the previous decade to shake things up, to add variety to the show, failed to take root.
The Europeans did not respond to the “Race of Two Worlds” as perhaps Tony Hulman and his deputies hoped to restore the original international flavor of the 500-mile race. The Monza races stained the image of European drivers, who were generally dismissed as less manly than their courageous American counterparts. Those who came to the Speedway were not up to the competition, most leaving under some comic cloud, including one legendary World Champion.