Spotlight: Keeping ‘Tab’s on Juan Pablo Montoya

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Tab Boyd is Juan Pablo Montoyas eyes and ears high above the track every Sunday. Keeping Montoya out of trouble and on the right line is Boyds 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. Its such a big deal, the jump he made. Even though its all racing its 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 Ive 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 Montoyas 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 dont 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. Boyds multi-compartmental, rolling bag filled with everything from extra batteries to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches allow him to always be on his game.

Youre carrying so many things on the stand. I have extra radios, batteries, binoculars; you have to make sure youre well covered, Boyd said. You look like youre 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 youre part of the game, Boyd said. I enjoy being able to see how things play out.

Three What Ifs 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 cant walk away, even under yellow

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