Tab Boyd is Juan Pablo Montoya’s eyes and ears high above the track every Sunday. Keeping Montoya out of trouble and on the right line is Boyd’s responsibility as spotter for the No. 42 Target Chevrolet.
Tab, which is a nickname he said he has had since birth and also his initials, has been watching out for Montoya since the driver entered NASCAR in 2006. In that time he has seen Montoya blossom into a driver who is competitive every week and is on the cusp of The Chase for the Sprint Cup.
“The most memorable thing for me has been watching Juan progress,” Boyd said. “It’s such a big deal, the jump he made. Even though it’s all racing it’s very different.”
Boyd, a native of Pensacola, Fla. said he was two weeks old the first time he was at a race track. He began working for a race team not long after moving to North Carolina during high school and when he graduated he turned his after school job into his full-time career.
“Growing up my dad, uncles, everybody in my family had racecars,” Boyd said. “This is the only thing I’ve ever done.”
Boyd started out as a tire changer on the Nationwide Series team of Elton Sawyer. When NASCAR began requiring spotters during practice, Boyd took up the position for Sawyer. He joined Earnhardt Ganassi Racing five years ago as a spotter and fabricator.
When Montoya joined the team in 2006 Boyd was among those who tried out to be Montoya’s spotter. Boyd eventually took over the position.
He said the key to success as a spotter is good communication. Among other things that means congratulating the driver when he does well and working through difficult times.
“You don’t need to be best buddies, but you do need to be able to communicate’” Boyd said. “Luckily things have gone well and we are able to talk about things.”
Another part of being a good spotter is being well prepared on the stand. Boyd’s multi-compartmental, rolling bag filled with everything from extra batteries to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches allow him to always be on his game.
“You’re carrying so many things on the stand. I have extra radios, batteries, binoculars; you have to make sure you’re well covered,” Boyd said. “You look like you’re going on a mountain climbing trip.”
Boyd said above all things he enjoys his position because it allows him to be part of the action.
“I like that you’re part of the game,” Boyd said. “I enjoy being able to see how things play out.”
Three What If’s while on the Spotter Stand…
It starts raining…
I grab a rain jacket and cover the radios. I always have a hooded jacket ready to go.
You get hungry…
I always have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich ready to go
You have to use the restroom…
You try not to. You always go right before the race. You can’t walk away, even under yellow