Atop the Spotter’s Stand: ‘Dega
We are also joined this week by Earl Barban, spotter for the #48 Lowes Chevrolet driven by 5 time Champion Jimmie Johnson.
As we get ready for Talladega I remember the conversations had before the July Daytona race with Clayton and Chris Osborne. If I learned anything, the stress of the tango or maybe plate racing in general is enough to give them an upset stomach. Not only is it tandem racing it’s tandem spotting.
Earl Barban, spotter for the #48 Lowes Chevrolet
Clayton Hughes spots for Regan Smith and has been a part of Furniture Row Racing since the beginning. Clayton started spotting in 1994 on a limited basis for Darrell Waltrip in the Nationwide series.
Cautions and a wreck spoiled the evening for our spotters this week. Both hope things turn around this week.
What is the good and bad of the Talladega spotter’s stand?
Clayton responds,” It’s not one of his favorites. The spotter’s stand is at the top row of the Grand stands. It would be better if up a little higher and more in the tri-oval. It’s hard to clear in the tri-oval. Drivers have to hold their line with the 2 car tango. If there should happen to be a red flag there is a snack bar and restroom near by.”
Earl answers,”The spotters stand at Dega is pretty good. there are no issues with seeing anything. Like anywhere else it is a bit difficult to clear someone when they are coming toward you or way.”
How is the tango at Talladega different from Daytona?
Earl says,”it’s the same.”
Clayton retorts,” It’s basically the same except it’s a wider track where you’ll see them run 3 wide or 4 wide in some places.”
NASCAR announced a few back some changes for Talladega: two rules changes — a larger restrictor-plate opening and a recalibrated pressure-relief valve .
What effect will the new changes NASCAR has made for the race be?
Clayton quips,” Practice will be important. Driver’s will need to pay attention to temps and pressure guages more. Pending what is learned then will be how often cars need to switch.
Earl replies,”we will have to see when we get to Dega to see if there is anything different about the new rules.”
Will it put more pressure on the spotter to clear driver’s?
Earl answers,”I don’t think there will be any more pressure on a spotter I don’t think that there can be any more pressure than the cars running 3 wide 10 deep or nose to tail door to door two wide 20 deep .”
Clayton says,” Pressure will be the same as any plate race. Who you pair up with depends on where you qualify. The Chasers may not pair up with their teammate or others in the chase so they don’t take each other out.”
Clayton wants to send Condolences to the Wheldon family. Susie Wheldon is from the same area of North Carolina as Clayton.
If you should have a question for our spotter’s please email firstname.lastname@example.org . I’ll make sure it gets answered.
As always I want to thank Clayton and Earl for their time answering my questions.