On the last edition of The Inside Pass (www.theinsidepass.net), heard on Tuesday November 26th, my co-host Randy Miller and I spoke at length with veteran spotter Tim Fedewa. The conversation ranged from the new Gen 6 car and the struggles of the Ford camp to find speed through out the season to what Tim is looking forward to doing during the off season (hunting for those wondering).
The telling point in the interview was when Randy Miller asked Tim what his plans were for next season. Tim broke the news that he would be moving to the number 4 car and would be spotting for Kevin Harvick moving forward into the 2014 season. Tim is still currently under contract with Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) until the end of the year, which for those that do not know the NASCAR year typically ends on December 31st of each year. Tim expected to be spotting for RPM during the early December testing at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Tim believes that he will be spotting for Aric Almilrola during that testing session, but nothing is firmed up yet. During the off air conversation, Tim also confirmed that this would be a year to year contract.
When asked Tim stated that he is excited about thae move, and that he is very appreciative of everything that working at the legendary Richard Petty Motorsports has done for him personally and professionally. He enjoyed working with Marcus Ambrose and felt strongly that they as a team were really close to getting the Australian driver his first oval track win. As the interview progressed, I asked Tim exactly what does a spotter do to help build the level of trust up that is needed between a spotter and a driver moving into the January testing at Daytona, which is where Kevin and Tim will be working together for the first time. Tim’s response was enlightening, they are going to be sitting down to lunches together along with recently named crew chief Rodney Childers, who is leaving Micheal Waltrip Racing (MWR), along with the car chief to try and get on the same page moving forward.
As the title of this article implies gaining a veteran spotter such as Tim bodes well for the fans of Kevin Harvick and does not bode well for the rest of the field. Tim has been spotting in the national series dating back to when the Sprint Cup was known as the Nextel Cup. Tim is a former racer turned spotter. He understands how to help a driver navigate the traffic and track in order to help his team and driver get the very best out of the car. When teamed with a driver who is known for taking care of his equipment and being “there” at the end of a race, this could potentially be the new powerhouse driver/spotter combination. When asked what he had already been doing to prepare for the potential move to Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR), Tim replied that he had been scanning the 29 cars channels in order to pick up on the lingo and the meter that Billy O’Dea and Kevin used throughout the latter stages of the year so that he would be better prepared for his new role with Kevin.
Tim’s pedigree in racing is not a short lived one, he was born into a racing family. His father Butch raced in several series eventually reaching the ARCA/ReMax series before retiring and began helping Tim with his racing career. Tim made limited starts in the Camping World Truck and some 300 Nationwide Series starts, with four wins in that series, along with one start in the Winston Cup Series, and also ran in a relief role for John Andretti with Petty Motorsports at the Coke 600 in 2000 when John was injured. Tim understands the nuances that help make a car go fast, this role with the new number 4 team is not something that Tim simply fell into over night. He has been doing this for awhile now, and he has the respect of his peers atop the spotter’s stand. While NASCAR may have mandated rules changes that there would no longer be “deals” made from the spotters stand, I hope no one is naive enough to think that the spotters don’t work together to try and help their driver out when trying to make their way through the field.
When you take a look at the cache of talented members continuously being added to the stables over at Stewart-Haas Racing, I think that we could see a few new/old faces challenging Jimmie Johnson (six time) for the championship next season.