Joey Logano Won the Championship, and Surprisingly Received an Assist From Kevin Harvick’s Crew Chief Rodney Childers During Race, According to Report
Joey Logano had one of the best cars all season. He proved that early, winning the first-ever exhibition Clash at the Coliseum. He won three times during the year, including a pivotal victory at Las Vegas last month that earned him a berth in the Championship 4 race at Phoenix.
When the 32-year-old qualified on the pole at the mile-long track, he sent a message to the rest of the field that he had all intentions of bookending the season with a pair of wins. He did just that in dominating fashion on Sunday, leading a race-high 187 laps, edging out teammate Ryan Blaney for the win, and claiming his second Bill France Cup.
Every race requires teamwork that includes the driver, crew chief, and pit crew all performing their jobs at the highest level. That all happened for Logano’s team in the desert, but crew chief Paul Wolfe also admitted that the No. 22 team had some help from another team outside the Penske organization.
Joey Logano wins race and Cup Series championship
After winning at Las Vegas and earning a spot in the Championship 4 race, Joey Logano insisted that single win would give him an advantage over the competition, allowing his team to focus its preparation on Phoenix while everyone else battled just to get into the final four.
When the No. 22 posted the fastest qualifying lap and won the pole on Saturday, the rest of the competition couldn’t help but believe what Logano had been saying. He backed it up early in the race, leading every lap in the first stage.
The second stage was much of the same, as Logano battled with teammate Ryan Blaney, finishing second behind him at the end of the stage.
In the final stage, it was a repeat of the first two stages as both Penske cars were noticeably faster than their competition. Logano, in clean air, stayed out front and raced to the win and his second Cup Series title.
Logano crew chief admits to working with Rodney Childers during race
Logano came into the Championship 4 race as a favorite because of his team’s ability to concentrate on Phoenix since its win at Las Vegas, and overall experience. The 2015 Daytona 500 winner already had one Cup championship to his credit back in 2018. But that wasn’t all he had. He also had championship-winning crew chief Paul Wolfe, who worked with Brad Keselowski during his title run in 2012.
Wolfe joined Logano in 2020, where the pair narrowly missed winning the title, finishing third in the season standings. This year the two worked well together, as evidenced by their consistent results throughout the season.
During Sunday’s race, the 45-year-old Wolfe drew upon his past dozen years working as a crew chief at Penske. Interestingly, he also leaned on someone outside of the organization, according to Racer.com’s Kelly Crandall.
“Paul Wolfe was texting fellow Ford crew chief Rodney Childers during the race about advice and strategy,” Crandall tweeted after the race. “Wolfe said they have a pretty good relationship and try to help each other. ‘There are guys in the garage you can trust and guys you can’t.'”
Some question the move
Unsurprisingly, some on social media questioned the move, and it’s legality. Nothing in the rules prevents those types of interactions from occurring. Look no further than what happens every race at superspeedways like Daytona and Talladega, where more often than not, teams work the draft and pit together based on manufacturers.
As Wolfe said, there are only a select few guys in the garage that can be trusted and would even provide him with beneficial knowledge. Clearly, Childers fits that mold, as he’s also won a Cup championship with Kevin Harvick. And Childers has to see the benefit as well, knowing that the roles could be reversed at some point in the future and he just might be consulting the now two-time winning crew chief for advice.