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Special feature

Captain's Corner: Q&A with spotter Tab Boyd

As part of Motorsport.com’s content partnership with Team Penske, we will provide fans with exclusive content each week from the organization’s drivers, crew members and staff to readers throughout the 2017 season.

Roger Penske

Photo by: Scott R LePage / Motorsport Images

Tab Boyd
Tab Boyd
Tab Boyd
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Tab Boyd and Joey Logano, Team Penske
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford pit stop
Tab Boyd and Joey Logano, Team Penske
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Pole sitter Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford
Joey Logano, Team Penske Ford

This week, we visit with Tab Boyd, spotter for Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series driver Joey Logano.

Q: How did you and Joey begin your working relationship as spotter and driver?

Boyd: Several years ago, when Joey knew he was leaving Joe Gibbs Racing, I was still working at Ganassi and spotting for Danica Patrick – it was kind of a weird deal. I was looking for something a little more steady. A mutual friend of Joey and I’s told me he was looking for a new spotter for when he came to Penske. We decided to work an Xfinity race together as a trial – he actually tried a few different people when he was driving the Xfinity car for Gibbs. We worked it out that I spotted at Charlotte for him and we ended up winning the race. After the race he said, “Someone from Penske will be contacting you in a couple weeks” and we got it all worked out.

Q: Why do you think the relationship has worked so well between you and Joey?

Boyd: I think we keep an open mind to whatever needs to be done, whether it’s the style that I spot or the style that he drives. He has a lot of ideas on how we get better and he has definitely made me a better spotter because he helps me realize the things we might not see or look for because we’re not behind the wheel. So, I try to look at the race through his eyes and let him know what he needs to know and let him do his thing. I think we’re constantly learning and adapting to each other’s styles. Racing has gotten a lot more intense because we do run well. You have to do things a little different, depending on whether you’re running in mid-pack, it’s after a pit stop or you’re running up front.

Q: After spending several years working together there are probably moments when you two might not see eye-to-eye. How do you work past those?

Boyd: For me personally, when the checkered flag drops, it’s over. Even if you’re running another lap or two after something went on, you get over it very quickly because you are so focused on the task at hand, especially during a race. If something does go wrong, there are very seldom any words said. You know if you did right or wrong, so you refocus as quickly as you can, get over it and get back to doing your job. I think that’s one thing that makes Joey so good at what he does, he doesn’t get flustered about something and if he does, it’s done and over quickly and we move on.

Q: From your perspective, what is the most difficult track from which to spot?

Boyd: My opinion has changed recently. I used to think Martinsville was the most difficult, but we just came from California where they were racing four-and-five wide, particularly on restarts, and the racing in the corners is just so intense. That’s become a very difficult track. I say difficult, but it’s still a lot of fun because there is a lot of action. The superspeedways, of course, are difficult because your vantage point. You are so far away from the drivers, you’re talking about inches when you are a half-mile away from the cars. It’s tough to do. Every track has specific characteristics that can make them difficult in their own way.

Q: How different does your job become going from one of NASCAR’s biggest tracks to its smallest this weekend at Martinsville?

Boyd: The pace of the race is definitely a lot slower but that doesn’t mean you can’t get into trouble. You have to be very aware. It doesn’t matter of it’s California, Talladega or Martinsville, the cars are all traveling around the same speed at each respective track, so you have to adapt to what you look for, whether it be the exit of a corner – which is a big thing at Martinsville, because you want good momentum. You need to let him know quickly whether the car behind him can make a move. You want him to be expecting moves or dive-bombs, not caught off guard. At a short track like Martinsville, we are right on top of the action. You are right there on top of the cars and you can see all the action without having to use binoculars.

Q: Last weekend, you went to the K&N Pro Series West doubleheader at Irwindale, Calif., and ended up spotting in the races for Todd Souza. Is it difficult to step in to spot for a driver with which you are not very familiar?

Boyd: It was really neat to go to Irwindale. I had never been there before and just wanted to check it out. I have a lot of friends on the West Coast and once I got over there, they convinced me to go up top and spot. I walked up to the spotters’ stand and that was the first time I had ever seen the track – about 20 minutes before they threw the green flag. Whenever I have the opportunity to spot for someone else, whether it be in a modified race or late model or something like that, I just use what I’ve learned on the Cup side with Joey. Usually under one of the first cautions, I’ll ask (the driver) if that is what they need and if they liked it or if they wanted to change anything. Most cases, it works out and I just do my normal thing.

 

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