Terra Talks with Spencer Boyd, Vol. 3

Spencer Boyd is fueled by grit and determination. (Image: Spencer Boyd)

It has been quite a stretch of races for NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, Spencer Boyd. The Truck Series, which already has a slimmer schedule than its NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series counterparts, had a month-long break mid-summer.

This time off allowed Boyd and his No. 20 Young’s Motorsports team to not only rest and recuperate, but address some on-track issues that had been plaguing their efforts. 

In this installment of “Terra Talks”, Boyd graciously shared more about these struggles and changes. Additionally, we talked about steamy summer races, the domino effect of the Next Gen car, SIM racing, and more. 

Without further ado, let’s hear from Spencer Boyd!

 

Terra Jones: After not qualifying for Nashville, you tweeted, “Something has to change.” The Truck Series had a month off between Knoxville and Watkins Glen. With that time off, were you and your team able to look at and figure out what needed to be changed and implement those changes? And if so, can you speak to what they were?

Spencer Boyd: Yeah, it’s never a good thing to miss a race. And I hadn’t had that happen until this year. Qualifying hasn’t been one of my strong suits and that hasn’t been something that I had to focus on. So it was one of those moments where it’s like, “I think I need to talk to some people. I need to figure out why I’m struggling at qualifying.” I needed to mentally reset, and figure out, “What can we do to make the trucks more comfortable for me to try and go lay down a lap and get the job done?” 

So it was a little bit of frustration within myself of what I need to do to get better. And then, “What can I be vocal about that I think could help me perform better on the racetrack and my guys can help me with?”

Two DNQs on the season have pushed Spencer Boyd to learn more and work even harder. (Image: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

Jones: It doesn’t help that qualifying is only happening at a handful of races. That doesn’t give you much of an opportunity to even work on that! Prior to the break, Kyle Strickler filled in for you at Knoxville. Would you just share a little bit about how that decision came to be?

Boyd: Yeah, for me, dirt is not something I do. I haven’t ever dirt raced. And Bristol was my first time on dirt. It was a big learning curve for me. Then, looking at missing Nashville and COTA, when it came to Knoxville, I felt, “Hey, you know, this team needs these points. We need to go have a good solid run and we need to take care of our partners. That’s the most important part.” Partners are what keeps me racing. 

So, Crowe Equipment was on board for Knoxville and I’m like, “I wonder who out there is kind of a shoo-in that can go run well and perform well for our partner?” Then, talking with Tyler (Young), Tyler’s like, “I’ve been talking to Strickler for a long time. It just hasn’t worked out for him to drive one of our trucks. What do you think?” 

So I said, “Well, let’s talk about this. What can we do to get some points for the 20 truck and keep our sponsors happy? And you know, if you’re cool with it, let’s try and move forward.” 

A lot of people thought it was a top-down decision. Realistically, it was an idea that got tossed around and I was completely pushing that effort. It was cool that Tyler went along with it. I mean, Strickler went and won the heat race! So it shows that our stuff performs well on dirt. 

Jones: Then, looking at it from the human and emotional side of things, even though it was something you pushed for, how difficult was it for you to hand over the proverbial keys for that race? 

Boyd: Yeah, I would say that was the hardest day. It was tough. Business-wise, I try and look at things from a marketing standpoint. And from the team and business side, I felt like it was the right thing to do. 

And then when I got to the racetrack, I was watching practice, and I was like, “This is miserable.” 

But I didn’t want to sit at home. I felt like that would really look bad. And I wanted to go and hang out with Kyle and make sure that he was posting pictures of Crowe and doing what we needed to do. (laughs) But really, I wanted to hang out with my crew and make the best of the situation.

When I watched him win the heat race, I felt like a really proud PR person! I texted my dad and I said, “I feel like I made a really good decision right now. But I never want to have to go through this again!” (laughs)

So much happens behind the scenes to get to race day. Here, Spencer Boyd talks with his No. 52 Jimmy Means Racing team prior to the NASCAR Xfinity race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. (Image: Josh Jones | The Podium Finish)

Jones: I’m sure! It’s really interesting to hear what goes on behind the scenes. So I appreciate you sharing all that. The next couple of questions come from team members of mine at The Podium Finish. We were talking about the “trickle-down” or domino effect that the Next Gen car is having. 

One of our photographers, Jonathan Huff, was wondering, “Do you think the new car will help or hurt the Truck Series as more teams open up in Cup? And, do you think it will open up the competition in trucks for smaller teams and drivers like yourself?”

Boyd: I think NASCAR is really competitive in the Truck, Xfinity, and Cup series this year. I think next year, it’s going to be even tougher. And on my end, finding sponsorship dollars, I figure things will be a little more difficult. There are so many kids trying to get their start into the Truck Series, which is kind of creating an influx of money and team and drivers in the Truck Series. 

Then, that bottlenecks up to the XFINITY series. And then you have small companies shutting down, which is gonna turn into some smaller team Cup drivers probably looking at going Xfinity racing. I don’t think anyone says, “Well if I’m not in Cup, I want to sit on the couch.” So it’s a very competitive market. The new car is just going to make Xfinity and Truck more desirable, I think. 

Jones: That makes sense! And then our editor-in-chief, Rob Tiongson was wondering how you personally prepare for the hot and humid summer stretch of races.

Boyd: Yeah! I feel like I’m in the best shape of my life. Since last Thanksgiving, I’ve worked out really hard with Hunter over at FitStop (Performance). A lot of people in the industry work out at FitStop with Hunter. I’ve lost a lot of weight. I feel like I’m in great shape. Hydration, I’ve learned over the years, is key. But just shedding that weight and looking at my heart rate. My average heart rate is down 25-30 points per race.

Jones: Wow!

Last Fall, Spencer Boyd focused on intense workout sessions with FitStop Performance, allowing him to be more physically and mentally fit on the track. (Image: Spencer Boyd)

Boyd: Yeah! That makes me feel like we’re doing the right things. But I do look forward to it. Because there’s a lot of small guys in the Truck Series that seem to fall out during the last third of the race or make mistakes. So I try and keep a clear mind and be there at the end. 

Jones: So much preparation that a lot of people may not think about, I’m sure! Let’s move to some of the recent races. We’ll start with Watkins Glen.

The last time the Truck Series raced there, you were five! There was no practice for that race. I know you put in a lot of time on the simulator. So for those that may not be super familiar with the SIM, if you would just share about how realistic and how beneficial is it in helping prepare, not just for any race, but specifically a track you’ve never raced on before?

Boyd: We at Young Motorsports work with Sim Seats, which is a really good iRacing simulator platform. They’re actually out of Virginia and they delivered ours earlier this year. And I mean, all of us, Kaz (Grala), Tate (Fogleman), Kris (Wright), we’ve all been knocking out laps on there. And I think iRacing is the best for road courses, especially if we haven’t been there ever, or in a long time. You can just familiarize yourself with this straightaway is longer than this straightaway or learn that you’re probably gonna be able to pass here. Or even, these are the heavy braking points. 

It’s not 100% when it comes to the feel of the car, but it’s as close as you can get without practice. So in this day and age, we’re knocking out hundreds of laps before we get there. But, I feel like it helps a lot more on the road courses than it does on the ovals.

SIM time has become crucial for NASCAR drivers given the lack of on-track practice time over the past year. (Image: Spencer Boyd)

Jones: That’s really awesome and a great way to practice when you can’t really practice. Now I was originally going to ask if you had any plans to do another XFINITY race this season. Then you made the announcement this afternoon that you’ll be running the No. 52 for Jimmy Means Racing at Daytona on Friday. Congratulations on that news! You noted that Wheelhouse Bicycle will be your primary. So do you yourself ride bicycles? Is that your thing?

Boyd: (laughs) I definitely ride bikes. I ride bikes a lot more now than I used to. Mountain biking is something that I’ve grown to enjoy, especially living out here in North Carolina. There’s a lot of places to do it. And a lot of other drivers do too, so it’s kind of a competitive deal with Strava and just competing with everybody. 

But Wheelhouse Bicycle is owned by my childhood best friend. We met in kindergarten and he’s been to a lot of my races. We’ve stayed in touch for 20 years now. And it just kind of worked out for him to jump on board for Daytona. So, it’s a pretty cool story we got. 

And it’s kind of one of those deals like we talked about, where it came to looking at myself and asking what I can do to become a better racecar driver and better qualifier. Well, it’s just keep getting laps, keep racing, and be on the track as much as I can.

So these opportunities with Jimmy Means and Mario over at DGM…We have a few races lined up with MiniDoge Cryptocurrency. So, I’m excited about all we have going on. 

Then, my home, driving the No. 20 truck with Young’s Motorsports – it’s my third year. I just feel really at home driving there and appreciate the opportunity with Tyler Young!

Jones: And you answered my next question. I was going to ask if you had any other plans for the rest of the season in Xfinity. So, that’s really exciting! 

After a mid-race power outage halted the action on track, Spencer Boyd and the No. 20 Young’s Motorsports team regrouped and bought home their second best finish of the season. (Image: Young’s Motorsports)

Let’s talk about Gateway last Friday night. There was a random, mid-race power outage. Looking at your time behind the wheel, what’s, not necessarily a wreck, but just a really bizarre incident that you’ve been involved in on track?

Boyd: One that I’ve been involved in? That one was definitely strange. (laughs) It was my hometown, so I was joking on the radio about St. Louis not paying their power bill! (laughs) I saw the lights flicker going down the front stretch. And I was like, in my mind, “Did I just blink like really long? What just happened?”

Then, down the backstretch, it was just BOOM, blackout. We could just see the outlines of the cars. Everything looked like you were looking in your closet. So jumped on the brake. Everyone slowed down. I’m glad nothing crazy happened there! That was pretty unique!

But, as a fan, because this has always stood out to me, was at Charlotte Motor Speedway, when they had the camera going down the front stretch and the wire broke! 

Jones: Yes! That’s right!

Boyd: Yeah, as a race fan, I thought, “You just ruined the day for the race winner!”

Jones: I’d forgotten about that happening. So crazy! Okay. Two more for you. Mother Nature likes to throw a wrench in things when NASCAR is in town. So what is something fun you and your guys like to do to kill time during lengthy rain delays?

Boyd: Yeah, for me, it’s all about the fans and the partners. Some guys go out and play football and stuff. But, for me, I’m on doing a live on Twitter or Instagram. Or grabbing my guys and talking about how we can make our race truck better. So that’s pretty much what I do. No throwing footballs and cracking ankles! (laughs)

Jones: I see a lot of teams getting creative playing poker with bolts and lug nuts, or cornhole with toolboxes. So, I didn’t know what was happening in the No. 20 hauler! 

Boyd: (laughs)

Jones: Or, maybe I gave you an idea!

Boyd: Yeah! (laughs) We might have to try that next time!

Jones: Finally, the quarterly question for this stretch of races. I often see you tweet what you’re listening to. So if you could make an in-car playlist that wouldn’t interfere with your team communications, name one or two songs that would top the list.

As Spencer Boyd heads to the grid, any number of songs could be helping him prepare to get in the groove. (Image: Sean Folsom | The Podium Finish)

Boyd: Oh, there are so many good songs right now! For me, I love Texas Red Dirt Country. Someone that caught my attention is Parker McCollum – “Rest of my Life,” “Hollywood Gold.” Good songs!  And then Nate Smith, “Under my Skin.” So kinda those summer songs that you want to hear on the boat, chillin’ on the lake. Not that it happens often, but I enjoy it when I do! (laughs)

Jones: Carefully pretend while you’re driving!

Boys: I’m imagining sitting in a hot tub right now while I’m in my truck! 

Jones: It’s hot enough out to feel like that! 

 

Thank you so much to Spencer Boyd for taking the time to continue this series. Be sure to follow his social channels (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) for all the latest sponsor information, race updates, and giveaways from his partners. 

 

Terra Jones

As a life-long NASCAR fan and lover of words, I'm fortunate enough to put the two together here at The Podium Finish to bring our readers and motorsports fans news, features, and interviews from the world of wheels. Originally from the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, I moved westward to graduate from Middle Tennessee State University. I now reside in central North Carolina with my husband, our three boys, and our dog, Charlotte. While my heart is at the race track, I also enjoy watching baseball, as well as college football and basketball. 

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