NASCAR: Here’s What Spotters Are Expecting at Atlanta Motor Speedway

by Quentin Blount
Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Ever wanted to know how a spotter sees a race? Lucky for us, Tab Boyd takes NASCAR fans through what he’s expecting at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Tab Boyd, of course, is the spotter for Ricky Stenhouse Jr., the driver of the No. 47 for JTG Daugherty Racing. He spoke to RacingAmerica’s Matt Weaver about what his day as a spotter looks like prior to Sunday’s Cup Series race in Atlanta.

“You have to have an open mind about what’s gonna go on because practice is pretty intense but the race is gonna be intense also,” Boyd said. “It’s a mini superspeedway and the lap times are right at 30 seconds rather than 55 or so. So, everything happens really quick. The runs are massive when guys are behind you or when you have to defend it so you have to really keep your eyes peeled and the driver does also. He’s looking forward and backward and we’ll develop a little bit of a rhythm with what’s going on.”

Things Happen Fast During a NASCAR Race at Atlanta Motor Speedway

As you NASCAR fans might already know, things happen a lot faster at Atlanta Motor Speedway as compared to Daytona for example. Tab Boyd discussed the difference in how he relays information at Atlanta versus some of the other superspeedways.

“Just a priority,” the 47 spotter said. “Mainly the first thing out of my mouth is if he’s clear or not, whether it’s high or low. If somebody is right beside him he knows that they’re there. But if it’s a close call to the right, I do the priority first. So, if he does need to move, he knows that he can move around.”

But Boyd isn’t just watching Ricky Stenhouse Jr. He’s watching what all of the cars around him do as well.

“Then you start describing the runs that people have around them. You’re watching — just like at Daytona and Talladega — you’re watching the cars that are two and three back to see what they’re up to. Because the push and the runs that they have are very similar. We’ll learn more about them in the first couple stages today and see how it goes.”

As for his team’s biggest priority for the first 40 laps in Sunday’s race? Stay out of trouble.

“You just have to stay out of trouble,” he said. “There’s gonna be some guys making some really bold moves and that’s what it’s gonna take eventually to get up there. But I think that as the race goes on, car handling and how fast your car is is gonna be pretty key. You have to make some moves, but you also have to be careful not to get caught up in anybody doing foolish stuff.”