Championship-Winning Crew Chief Lands Extension

Rodney Childers

Getty Rodney Childers watches qualifying at Auto Club Speedway.

An important member of Stewart-Haas Racing is sticking around for the foreseeable future. Rodney Childers, the crew chief for Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 team, has revealed that he signed a multi-year contract extension to remain in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Childers provided the information with a tweet about gratitude. He referenced things in his life that could lead to complaints before dropping the news that he re-signed with SHR. Childers added that the deal is for multiple years, providing him several opportunities to pursue another championship.

“Been thinking all day, there is always a lot of things I could complain about. But I’m really fortunate. This past Wednesday I was able to re-sign with [Stewart-Haas Racing] for years to come. Then a few days later almost went to victory lane. Then today enjoyed my family,” Childers tweeted on Sunday, Sept. 19.

The tweet followed an eventful playoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Harvick and Chase Elliott had multiple arguments following a collision on the track that cut the tire on the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, as well as a block that helped Kyle Larson pass Harvick for the win.

Childers Began His Work as Crew Chief in 2005

Rodney Childers

GettyRodney Childers (right) talks to David Reutimann during qualifying at Pocono.

A former driver-turned-mechanic, Childers made the move to crew chief in 2005. He joined forces with Scott Riggs. The two men spent three years together and locked up two top-five finishes.

Childers worked with several drivers from 2005 until the end of the 2013 season, helping accumulate three total wins. David Reutimann was the first to take the checkered flag while working with Childers, doing so at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2009. Reutimann also won at Chicagoland in 2010. Brian Vickers accounted for the third win, taking the checkered flag at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2013.

The veteran crew chief spent three seasons with Gillett Evernham Motorsports (2006-2008) and five with Michael Waltrip Racing (2009-2013) before making a major career decision. He announced that he would leave MWR and join Stewart-Haas Racing for the 2014 season and beyond. He ultimately joined forces with Harvick.

“There was no one big thing that stood out at all,” Childers said about leaving MWR in 2013, per Bob Pockrass. “Everybody at MWR has treated me great for five years and really has had no issues at all. It’s just is a personal decision, and I’ve thought about it for a long time. I just woke up one day and that’s what my heart told me I should do so hopefully it works out.”

Childers & Harvick Achieved Immediate Success Together

NASCAR Barack Obama

Getty(L-R) Kevin Harvick, President Barack Obama, Rodney Childers, and Tony Stewart pose during a special ceremony.

Childers headed to Stewart-Haas Racing with three career Cup Series victories while Harvick brought 21 from a 13-year stint with Richard Childress Racing. The two men joined forces and immediately began racking up even more victories.

The No. 4 reached Victory Lane five times during the 2014 season, including both races at Phoenix and the season-ending trip to Homestead-Miami Speedway. He posted 14 total top-five finishes and locked up the championship over Ryan Newman, Denny Hamlin, and Joey Logano.

From 2014 to 2020, Harvick and Childers won at least two races each year while consistently fighting for the championship trophy. This stat line includes eight in 2018 and nine during 2020.

The 2021 season, however, has been more of a down year for Harvick and Childers. The No. 4 Ford Mustang has not shown the same level of speed, resulting in a lack of wins. Though Harvick remains alive in the playoffs at the start of the Round of 12.

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