NASCAR's Most Vocal Spotter: Jeff Dickerson

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NASCAR's Most Vocal Spotter: Jeff Dickerson

(Kyle Busch's spotter Jeff Dickerson, lower right corner, celebrates with the team after their victory at Las Vegas.)

A dedicated NASCAR fan can look at a car and name the driver, the owner, and maybe the crew chief.

But that's where it might end.

I don't know about anyone else, but I can't name the crew members that work on the cars or the spotters that stand high above the grandstands.

Except one.

Jeff Dickerson is becoming as well known as his driver Kyle Busch. He's also becoming as outspoken as Busch. Or maybe secretly, Dickerson taught him everything he knows.

Dickerson got his spotting start in the Indy Racing League when a team handed him a radio and told him to do the job. He then moved to NASCAR and has spotted for a couple of drivers before being paired with Busch.

That happened in Busch's seventh race of his Rookie year in 2005.

"When he first started as my spotter, we ran into everything," Busch reveals. "Now, we can't leave each other's side. Our girlfriends say we spend more time talking to each other than them."

Besides being Busch's spotter and friend, as of 2007 he became his agent through Motorsports Management International. Dickerson also represents other drivers in the sport as well.

But he and Busch are never at a loss for words or celebration as they run wild through NASCAR's top three series.

A NASCAR spotter has one of the most important jobs on raceday. They make deals with others on who to draft and pit with at Super Speedways or what lane choices to make when getting around lapped cars on short tracks. All while helping their driver navigate the traffic in front of them, avoiding wrecks, and debris.

NASCAR has mandated that anytime there is a car on the racetrack, a spotter must be looking over that car.

The spotter is the driver's extra set of eyes.

Dickerson is very vocal on racedays, between giving Busch information he also offers advice and observation as well.

With 50 laps to go last year and leading at Darlington, Dickerson radioed: "I know you are digging, dude, but you've got to take care of that thing [car] there. You're scaring the fans. There's not enough security up in the Turn Two wall. Just nice and easy."

Busch went on to win and things are much easier and happier when everything is going well. And it makes Dickerson all the more animated.

Last July, at Chicagoland, Busch was passed by Jimmie Johnson with 16 laps to go. Johnson drove away and was headed for victory as Busch conceded defeat. But a caution with just a handful of laps remaining put him right back on Johnson's back bumper.

"You've worked real hard to get that point lead," Dickerson told him. "You ain't got a hair on your ass if you ain't hung out two lanes up passing that guy. Let's get him." 

Busch did for his seventh win of the year.

However, every driver is going to have a bad weekend and when Busch has one everyone is going to hear about. Some may even get blamed.

At Pocono last season, Busch was attempting to pass Jamie McMurray, when he too quickly whipped his car to the right, trying to get back in line. He hit McMurray and sent them both into the wall.

Busch told the TV viewers: "I couldn't clear myself. The spotter didn't say anything. It sucks."

Even though other spotters called Dickerson afterward to tell him not to worry about it, he knows that working with Busch will always be interesting.

"Did it suck being called out? Of course it did," he says. "But on the flight home, Kyle and I always break down the race. We did the same thing after Pocono. We watched the tape and agreed that we wrecked, and we were cool again. If I'm going to get thanked in Victory Lane for helping him win a race, I need to be prepared to get ripped if I lose him one."

Dickerson though, has been getting praised a lot lately. Such as after the Gatorade Duel race at Daytona in February.

"He won the race," Busch said. "It was awesome with Jeff, having him on the radio— always is...Mark [Martin] going to the high side in three and four and Jeff Dickerson spotting me just drove me right up there and kind of blocked him a little bit and then drove me down and blocked Brian Vickers there."

It's becoming apparent that the more success these two share, the more pompous Dickerson gets.

"Say goodnight, Gracie," was his radio communication to Busch as he passed Clint Bowyer for the lead and the win at Las Vegas just weeks ago.

It's almost certain that the more they win the more Dickerson will have to say. And the barbs about other drivers they'll share.

Jeff Dickerson is slowly making his way into the spotlight.

Quote Source: ABC News, Crash.net, ESPN.com, ESPN The Magazine and USAToday.com

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