Monday, September 26, 2016

Right Sides Only: Notes from the Bad Boy Off Road 300 Winning Crew Chief, Rodney Childers

by Stacey Owens

"You have to believe that you can win or you're not going to do it." That's the sentiment that crew chief Rodney Childers brought to the track this weekend, and it just may be a big part of Kevin Harvick's victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

The No. 4 team struggled during the opening race of The Chase last week at Chicagoland Speedway. Without a solid performance this week, Harvick was in danger of not advancing to the Round of 12. As it turns out, there's no cause for concern. With the win, the No. 4 team has secured a spot in that next round.

Childers was asked after the race about that need for something monumental to happen, especially given the issues Harvick had in Chicago.

"You know, the attitude in every morning meeting with the 4 team this week was the different attitude. The attitude when we got here to the racetrack, you have to believe that you can win or you're not going to do it. We felt like we brought a good car here and thought that we could pull off the victory if we did everything right, and it just really came down to doing everything right. It's not always going to be that way, but he [Harvick] definitely steps up to the table, and all my guys do, also, and I think it just works out," Childers said.

Combined with Harvick's ability to close when it counts, Childers had some decisions to make, too. Following a long green run at the beginning of the race, Childers' strategy finally had a chance to shine.

Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
"Well, I figured it would go pretty long there at the beginning, and I thought our car was really good on the long run yesterday, and I thought that would work to our advantage, and it did in a way. He was able to drive his way up through there a good ways. But we got to the point where the car was kind of going away and it wasn't turning the way it needed to. I think the racetrack almost came to us a little bit. The car actually ended up getting loose later on.
"But overall, it was a smooth day. I'll be honest with you; not only is the Chase stressful and this format stressful, but racing here is stressful. I used to hate coming here, and then we won here with Brian a few years back, and I've loved it ever since, especially coming here with him. It makes it a lot more fun.
Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs
"But you never know what the right thing is. We stayed out a few years ago, and Joey pitted and put four tires on and drove by all of us like we were sitting still. Sometimes you win it by staying out and sometimes you win it by putting tires on, and we talked about it the other day, and we thought tires were the way to go, and then I stayed out and it didn't look like it was going the way I wanted it to, and I thought I gave it away. It really came down to being in the right spot at the right time and him making it happen on the restart," Childers explained.

It helped, of course, that the team brought a great car to the track.

"We had a good car all weekend, and we kept working on it as the day went, and I could kind of tell by looking at our roof camera that we were starting to get a little more even with those guys watching the lap times. I felt like if we could ever get on that front row and have clean air on the nose, we would be in pretty good shape. He did a great job on that last restart and got us in great position," Childers said.

The team is definitely in pretty good shape. Harvick and Childers will no doubt push for another great finish at Dover, but the pressure is off  at least for one more week.


     Stacey Owens lives just outside Music City USA. She's always wanted to be a NASCAR writer, so working as a columnist and support editor for Skirts and Scuffs allows her to live that dream every single weekend.
    The sole NASCAR enthusiast in her home, she's hopeful that one of her three daughters might also harbor an appreciation for NASCAR, but it isn't looking good so far.
    This self-admitted grammar nerd also loves country music, though she can't carry a tune; collegiate football, though she needs a lot of work on her spiral; and Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life.



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