Eye in the Sky: Tony Hirschman uses experience to his advantage

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: Tony Hirschman uses experience to his advantage
Tony Hirschman
Race winner Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Race winner Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Race winner Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Race winner Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry Interstate Batteries
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Caramel
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Caramel
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Caramel pit stop
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Caramel and Martin Truex Jr., Furniture Row Racing, Toyota Camry 5-hour ENERGY/Bass Pro Shops
Kyle Busch, Joe Gibbs Racing, Toyota Camry M&M's Caramel

This week, Motorsport.com caught up with veteran spotter Tony Hirschman, who helped Kyle Busch score his first win of the season last Sunday at Texas Motor Speedway. Hirschman uses lessons learned with his dad and modified racing legend, Tony Hirschman Jr., to help Kyle Busch win in the NASCAR Cup Series.

How was your weekend at Texas Motor Speedway and were there any issues during the race?

We were really good all weekend and the car was fast right off the bat in practice. Our qualifying was a little off with the weather because we only got one round in, but the guys did a great job with the car despite the weather conditions.

Adam (Stevens, crew chief) and the entire team did a great job as we ran our race and although we got shuffled around on one of the restarts we were able to run the race we wanted all day. Kyle did a great job of hitting his marks and making the car fast all day.

How long have you been spotting for Kyle Busch?

I’ve been spotting for Kyle since 2012 and I really enjoy working for Joe Gibbs Racing as they’ve really treated me well. It’s fun working with a team like JGR and a driver like Kyle because you know everytime you hit the track you have a chance to win the race and that’s all you can ask.

Do you spot for anyone else besides Kyle Busch?

In previous years I would always spot for Kyle no matter what he drove but now I just spot for Kyle in the Cup Series and I spot for Christopher Bell in the Xfinity Series and Noah Gragson in the Truck series. I’ve learned a lot from Kyle through the years and I’m trying to put that to good use when I spot for the young guys.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

I’ve been around race tracks and racing my entire life so that part is easy for me. The hard part is missing my family and now that I have two young girls I’m starting to miss games along with the birthdays and other things and that makes it tough.

How do you try and help your driver during the race? (Do you tell jokes during cautions, talk about something off the wall to help calm them down when they need it, etc.?, What is it they like to hear from you?)

Not really. I’m not a big joker anyway. Sometimes when things happen I’ll try to get Kyle out of that moment and refocus on the rest of the race. I’ve really seen a maturation from him through the years and he’s always aware of things. I might share some lap times or let him know where certain cars are running. I always try to find and share things that might help him on the track.

Do you think growing up in a racing family and working so much with your family helped prepare you for your job today?

We grew up with dad racing so I’ve been around it my entire life and that’s how I learned things. I started spotting for my dad in 1994 and he taught me a lot and shared with me what a driver wants from the spotter and that helped me with this job. Dad also talked to me and my brother a lot about some days you just have to take what the car and race will give you and not try to make things happen because that could mess up your entire day. Sometimes you just have a second or third-place car and you just need to make the best of it.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job for you?

I know a lot of people say winning races, but to me the most rewarding part of this job is winning championships. My dad talked about that and I guess that’s why a title means a lot to me. The title in 2015 was very special with Kyle, but helping my dad win titles meant a lot, if not more, to me. Titles show that you’ve put the work in over an entire season.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Kyle Busch
Author Tim Southers
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