Eye in the Sky: Mike Herman Jr. shows versatility from above the track

Throughout the 2018 season Motorsport.com will spotlight the winning spotter from various Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, Xfinity and Camping World Truck series races.

Eye in the Sky: Mike Herman Jr. shows versatility from above the track
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Fusion Fastenal spotter Mike Herman on the spotter's stand
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Fusion Fifth Third Bank
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Fusion SunnyD
Race winner Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing Ford
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Fusion Fifth Third Bank
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Fusion Fifth Third Bank
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Fusion SunnyD
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Roush Fenway Racing, Ford Fusion Fastenal

This week, Motorsport.com caught up with veteran spotter MIke Herman Jr., who helped Ricky Stenhouse Jr.  score his first NASCAR Cup Series win last season at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway where the series visits this weekend. Herman is one of the most versatile spotters in the business spotting all three NASCAR national series race for drivers and also finds time to spot in the NASCAR Whelen Modifieds, K&N and ARCA series as well.

The former Late Model Stock Car driver even returns to his roots on occasion spotting Super Late Models.

What was last spring like for you and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. during the race at Talladega?

Relief. We had knocked on the door at Talladega and Daytona before, and it was just a sense of relief to finally get that win. The team gave us a super fast Ford to work with, and it was great to be able to capitalize on it for Jack Roush and the entire Roush Fenway organization.  

How did you become the spotter for Stenhouse?

That’s a long story, that started way back in 1983, kart racing at Lincoln County Speedway in Lincolnton, and Westrac USA in Tyro.  One that took me through a long career of short track racing in Late Model Stock Car and the ProCup Series. Starting in 2007, I transitioned from driving to spotting, mostly in K&N and ARCA. From there I just worked the ladder, until I got my first Cup job as a primary spotter with Tony Raines in 2011, then with Martin Truex Jr. in 2013. That path led me to Stenhouse starting in 2014.    

How long have you been spotting for Stenhouse and do you spot for any other drivers in addition to Ricky on Sundays.

This is my fifth season with Stenhouse and the No. 17 Team. I spot for numerous drivers outside of the Cup Series, including Ryan Reed in Xfinity, Austin Hill in Trucks, Ryan Vargas in K&N, and Venturini Motorsports in ARCA. I still do a lot of short track racing with Ty Majeski in Super Late Models, and Ryan Preece in Modifieds, when my Cup schedule allows. Preece is my longest tenured driver, this is our 12th year working together.

What’s the most challenging aspect about your job?

Multitasking. Whether it’s trying to look ahead, while being in a pack 3-wide, or listening to directives from Race Control, at the same time as the driver and crew chief are talking. Constantly multitasking is a challenge.

How do you try and help your driver during the race to help keep them calm when they need it?

By continuing to do my job, feeding information, which means we’re still in the game, still working. When I go silent, it’s time to start thinking about next week. Until then, we fight to the end.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job as a spotter?

Just being able to still be in the sport, making a living. This is my 36th year of non-stop racing. That’s rewarding to me.

Do you feel being a former driver helps you as a spotter?

Most definitely. I visually put myself in the driver’s seat when I’m spotting. So subconsciously, I still see the same view I did when I was driving.

Do you still get the feeling of competition like you did as a driver?

Absolutely.  It’s been interesting to see the job of spotting evolve in the 12 years I’ve been doing it full-time. It’s gone from strictly being a safety tool, to one of being part of the strategy as well. Today’s spotters are like coordinators in the NFL, or probably the best comparison are pro golf caddies. Their job description is real similar to ours. So the spotter is very much in the game.    

Name one aspect of your job that fans might not realize?

Most don’t realize how many races I spot outside of the Cup Series.  Before the season technically started, I had already spotted the Rolex 24, and the Winter Showdown in Bakersfield, Calif. During Speedweeks, between Daytona and New Smyrna, I spotted 16 races in 11 days. After the Cup season finale in Homestead, I still have the Snowball Derby to go. This year alone, I will spot over 120 races. Cup racing is my primary focus, and doing all the other races helps keep that focus sharp.

shares
comments
Jack Roush delayed Matt Kenseth call after 'raw' first exit

Previous article

Jack Roush delayed Matt Kenseth call after 'raw' first exit

Next article

NASCAR Roundtable: What to expect at Talladega this weekend

NASCAR Roundtable: What to expect at Talladega this weekend
Load comments
Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI Prime

Why NASCAR's most resilient driver has landed on his feet at 23XI

In a career that has had many ups and downs, Kurt Busch has been written off many times before. But facing career uncertainty after the sale of Chip Ganassi's NASCAR team, the 2004 Cup champion has found a new berth at Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan's 23XI organization - which underlines his enduring value

NASCAR Cup
Aug 31, 2021
From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview Prime

From the archive: Dale Earnhardt’s final Autosport interview

The death of Dale Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500 shocked NASCAR to the core. At the Daytona 24 Hours, two weeks before his fatal accident, ‘The Intimidator’ shared his expectations of challenging for an eighth Cup title with JONATHAN INGRAM, in an article first published in the 15 February 2001 issue of Autosport magazine. Little did we know then what tragedy would unfold…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death Prime

The lasting NASCAR legacy after Dale Earnhardt’s death

On February 18, 2001, seven-time NASCAR Cup champion Dale Earnhardt – the fearless ‘Intimidator’ – was in his element at Daytona International Speedway. While his own DEI team’s cars ran 1-2 towards the finish line, his famed #3 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet Monte Carlo was playing rear gunner to block any late runs from the chasing pack. As the cars tore through Turns 3 and 4 on that fateful final lap, Earnhardt maintained the strongarm tactics that encapsulated his persona… but his actions in those moments sadly proved to be his last.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 18, 2021
Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR Prime

Inspired by Pitbull, the “revolution” sweeping through NASCAR

The NASCAR Cup Series is changing. Whether it be the gradual morphing out the seasoned drivers of yesterday as the next generation step up, a radical calendar shake-up featuring more road courses than ever before and the prospect of an all-new car on the horizon, stock car racing’s highest level is nearing the end of a huge facelift.

NASCAR Cup
Feb 16, 2021
The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021 Prime

The NASCAR storylines to watch out for in 2021

This weekend's Daytona 500 kickstarts a NASCAR Cup season that promises plenty of intrigue courtesy of new owners and a refreshed calendar. Here's what you need to know ahead of the new season…

NASCAR Cup
Feb 13, 2021
Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption Prime

Why Kyle Larson can't blow his big shot at redemption

From a disgraced NASCAR exile, Kyle Larson has been given a chance of redemption by the powerhouse Hendrick Motorsports squad. Effectively replacing seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson is no easy billing, but Larson has every intention of repaying the team's faith...

NASCAR Cup
Feb 11, 2021
Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon Prime

Why Roger Penske is an American motorsport icon

In this exclusive one-on-one interview, Roger Penske reveals the inner drive that has made him not only a hugely successful team owner and businessman but also the owner of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IndyCar. He spoke to David Malsher-Lopez.

IndyCar
Dec 28, 2020
Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started Prime

Why NASCAR's latest second-generation champion is just getting started

Chase Elliott's late charge to the 2020 NASCAR Cup title defied predictions that it would be a Kevin Harvick versus Denny Hamlin showdown. While the two veterans are showing no signs of slowing down, Elliott's triumph was a window into NASCAR's future…

NASCAR Cup
Nov 18, 2020