Monday, July 23, 2018

Right Sides Only: Notes from the Foxwoods 301 Winning Crew Chief, Rodney Childers

by Stacey Owens

Sometimes you have to run a horrible race to figure out how to run a better one.

Crew chief Rodney Childers had a better car this weekend after having spent a great deal of time making cars better for short-track racing following an abysmal run at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in 2017.

"Yeah, we had a good race. We had a really good weekend in general. You look back at the fall race here last year, and we were absolutely horrible, embarrassed to say the least. From that race on, we really went to work and made our cars a lot better for the short tracks. I think that showed with Phoenix this year, then coming up here and running good. Richmond ran really good all night. But the whole company in general really worked hard making this a better short track car. Everybody did a great job today," Childers said.

One element of performance in which Childers said the team has made good progress is on pit road.

"I mean, in general, it seemed like we had a good day on pit road. We've had our ups and downs. I think a lot of attention was toward that way this week after Kentucky.
"You look back at Chicago. We had stops. We had one stop at Chicago, we picked up five spots. The problem was we couldn't do that consistently.
"This week was really about matching personalities, matching the skill sets of different people. We felt like we did that as a company. I can't speak for everybody else. I don't know what all happened with the other three teams.
"Our stops weren't clean by any means, but I can say when they are clean -- they weren't clean when they had thirteen twos. When they are clean, they'll be right there with the 18.
"We have to have people working together. They had one day to practice with each other before we came. Overall they did a good job," Childers explained.
Credit: Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images

Late in the race, especially given the not-so-stellar weather outlook, Childers cautioned his driver to do whatever it took to win. Childers talked about that philosophy after the win.
"It's short-track racing. Like I said earlier, I won lots and lots of short track races growing up. Not one of them did it win without bumping somebody. You listen to Kyle's radio. As soon as it happened, he said, 'Man, I was holding him up.'
"It's just part of it. You got to do what you got to do. On the other hand, we're sitting there watching the radar. There are people on the spotter's stands complaining about it raining. In those situations, you got to try to win the race.
"We look back at Michigan all the time thinking it's a race we should have won. You have to take advantage of every circumstance," Childers said.
With six wins this season, the team is certainly taking advantage of every circumstance that comes their way. This team will be difficult to beat as the series marches toward the playoffs in a few short weeks.
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  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; Kentucky basketball, even though at 6' tall, she's never played a day in her life; and her husband who's supportive of her NASCAR obsession... as long as she allows him to obsess over college football every fall.

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