By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Spencer Boyd went through a lot of highs and lows in his NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series rookie campaign.
As did his truck team, Young’s Motorsports, who went from one full-time truck with Tyler Young and Austin Hill driving it over the years, to now three full-time entries in 2019.
Boyd made the jump from SS-Green Light Racing in the Xfinity Series to a full-time Truck Series gig. Right out of the gate, Boyd finished fourth at Daytona after being just one of nine drivers out of the 32 that started who took the checkered flag.
As a result, his other two Young’s Motorsports teammates and fellow rookies Gus Dean and Tyler Dippel reached out to Boyd on the superspeedways.
“They’ve talked to me a lot about the speedways after Daytona, me finishing fourth,” Boyd told Motorsports Tribune. “They really chatted with me for Dega and what I did to kind of survive that race. Talking about wrecks, getting through the Big One and stuff like that. It’s so much about trusting your spotter.”
It wasn’t all positive for Boyd as his lowest point of the season occurred in the Buckle Up in Your Truck 225 at Kentucky Speedway July 11, where a driver error caused a multi-truck crash that eliminated Jordan Anderson and Natalie Decker.
Boyd admitted to the mistake as his truck kept coming up and tried looking deep in the corner before noticing Decker was on his right rear. Consequently, Boyd realized he wasn’t clear and it resulted into damage trucks.
“It was so fast and it’s unfortunate that we hurt ours, but obviously her and Jordan Anderson’s day,” Boyd said. “You hate when you make mistakes for your own guys and hate it for anyone else involved. It’s a bummer deal.”
Decker was furious at the Missouri native that was later seen online. At the end of the confrontation, Decker took Boyd’s hat and tossed it as she stormed off from the scene.
Afterwards, Boyd made a video to clarify that it was Decker who approached him instead of the other way around.
“I wanted to jump on that video after the hat flip and just let everyone know that I knew it was my fault. I didn’t want people to misconstrue that situation where I approached her,” Boyd said.
“It was definitely her approaching me, but I know she was frustrated. That was kind of a down time for her. Throughout the season, everyone has a rough month and that was hers. As far as wrecking stuff, it happened to be mine as well.
“She knew that I didn’t mean to do that. I knew it was the heat of the moment with here getting frustrated and I don’t blame her.”
Following Boyd’s apology video, the story became lighthearted as his Kentucky sponsor, Record Rack, stepped up to the plate and came up with an idea.
The idea was releasing a “hat flip” t-shirt that people can purchase and proceeds will go to Trinity Oaks, a non-profit that utilizes outdoor activities in order to make a difference.
“You never know what people are thinking on the outside,” Boyd said. “Fortunately, Record Rack said, ‘Hey, if we do a shirt, we got this charity’ that obviously they work with and I work with.
“It was special. Hate it that the day got cut short for Record Rack. Regardless, it was lighthearted and fun.”
That rough night at Kentucky would become an afterthought as Boyd’s biggest highlight took place in the Sugarlands Shine 250 at Talladega Superspeedway October 12.
However, that unforgettable afternoon almost didn’t happen. Boyd said that nine days prior, he wasn’t even going to run the No. 20 Chevrolet Silverado until Alabama Roofing Professionals climb aboard.
Using the same truck he finished fourth at Daytona, Boyd stuck with his ideal strategy of riding along until he was ready to pounce in the closing laps. The 24-year-old barely got through the multi-truck crash that eliminated Ross Chastain, who ended up scraping Boyd’s left side.
During the red flag, that’s when Boyd told his spotter Freddie Kraft that his truck has a shot of winning.
“Our truck sucks up really well. We can tug on the wheel left and right,” Boyd on his Talladega truck. “We can jump out of line and do whatever we need to do. We drove from like 20th to 10th in two laps, I was like ‘Wow! This is crazy.’ I just needed to stay out of trouble because three laps at Talladega is a long time.”
When it came down to the final two laps, Boyd quickly put himself in an excellent spot of winning, but he had to get by race leader Johnny Sauter and second-place Riley Herbst.
Coming to the tri-oval, Sauter blocked Herbst which forced them going below the double yellow line. Boyd knew the rules were pretty clear and opted to jump the top.
As a result of moving up, Boyd took the run from Brett Moffitt to cross the line in second as Sauter ended up first.
An animated Boyd was screaming up-and-down about finishing second which was the squad’s best result, but Kraft told Boyd that the race finish in under review.
Boyd initially saw it as a small negative until NASCAR informed the No. 20 team that Sauter was penalized for blocking Herbst below the apron.
Therefore, Boyd went from not even running Talladega over a week prior to celebrating in victory lane in just his 23rd start.
“You can see on the video that I was pretty shock and couldn’t believe it,” Boyd on winning at Talladega. “I was pretty jazzed up, jumped back in and did a burnout. Your emotions are pretty high with a good finish for a guy like. The win was unreal and pretty life changing. You’ve dreamt about it your whole life.
“You always think, ‘Maybe I can win this race.’ It’s a speedway, a lot of things can happen, and our truck seemed to be really good. Just putting it altogether and being there in the right place, right time. This sport is a lot about luck, so we’ll take it.”
Chastain along with Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Corey LaJoie and Michael McDowell congratulated Boyd on his win. Others such as Larry McReynolds and Marcus Lemonis took the time to reach out, which he admitted that it’s humbling people noticed him.
“I’m just a small guy in a big pond, but the fact that those guys noticed me,” Boyd said. “I’ve been around for four years. I’m really lucky to be around that long and enjoy going to the rack track and doing my job.
“Everyone was so happy and excited for me. Not to take away from Johnny Sauter, but it’s a pretty big deal for myself and a lot of people.”
The celebration was brief as he had to qualify in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1.
The following day, Chastain and Reed Sorenson told Boyd that he should’ve just stayed in victory lane with his team and take the 40th starting spot instead of qualifying 39th.
“I didn’t know that I could just skip Cup qualifying or not,” Boyd said. “We knew we are going to qualify where we did in the Cup car. As far as the excitement, I didn’t have a golf cart. I had to old school run all the way down there and jump in.”
Boyd’s win led to him run his most recent race at Martinsville Speedway, where he ended up 15th.
With two races left, Young’s Motorsports announced Colby Howard will run those races in the No. 20 Silverado, which meant Boyd’s B- Truck Series season (a grade he gave himself) has come to a close.
What’s Boyd’s focus going forward, including next weekend’s finale at Homestead?
“Kind of stay tuned,” Boyd said. “Outside of that, we’ve accomplished so much at the 20 team and Young’s Motorsports as a whole.
“They’ve gotten quite a few top-fives and I’m happy to be a part of it. I’m just kind of focused on 2020 and what that plan looks like for me.
“I was selling cars four years ago. I’m really just a happy guy, smiling all the time about being at the racetrack and enjoy all the moments with sponsors and stuff.”