Skip to main content

The difference between Kevin Harvick’s crew chief and a pit bull is that the pit bull eventually lets go. Rodney Childers went from slighted to NASCAR’s version of indicted last month, and he’s not letting people forget it.

It should make for an interesting offseason on social media, filling the lull at the end of the racing season and Silly Season.

Rodney Childers hit a milestone at Talladega in October

It took a decade, but Rodney Childers finally found the right combination of driver, car, and ownership in 2014 when he became Kevin Harvick’s crew chief at Stewart-Haas Racing. The Harvick-Childers partnership clicked immediately, scoring the NASCAR Cup Series championship on their first try.

They’ve won 37 races together, and Harvick broke out of a year-and-a-half drought this summer to confirm he is still a threat to win on any given Sunday. While Harvick was re-establishing himself on the track after dropping from nine wins in 2020 to none in 2021 and two this season, Childers was hitting a milestone atop the box.

On Oct. 2 at Talladega, Harvick and Childers worked together for the 314th time, continuing their lead as the longest-lasting collaboration among active drivers and crew chiefs. That race was the 600th overall for Childers in a role that began with driver Scott Riggs at MB2 Motors in 2005.

Six hundred races is a long run in a sport in which drivers generally don’t last more than three seasons without proving themselves. Crew chiefs don’t rate a much longer run than that.

SHR and many of Childers’ peers acknowledged the milestone. NASCAR didn’t.

“I did think it was very odd that last week not a single person from @NASCAR

 congratulated me on my 600th race as a cup CC,” he wrote on Twitter. “Not a mention, not a txt, not a hand shake. You would think anyone that has invested their entire life to the sport deserved something.”

Even relative newcomers earn kudos for hitting a round number

Rodney Childers looks on during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 on May 7, 2022, at Darlington Raceway. | Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Rodney Childers looks on during practice for the NASCAR Cup Series Goodyear 400 on May 7, 2022, at Darlington Raceway. | Jeffrey Vest/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you think Rodney Childers is overreacting to being shunned for his milestone, consider the fact that the NASCAR Twitter account congratulated Corey LaJoie for driving in his 200th Cup Series race this past weekend at Phoenix Raceway. That’s the same Corey LaJoie who’s winless and has yet to finish better than 29th in points in a season.

LaJoie acknowledged the tweet by admitting that he never thought a decade ago that he’d make it onto the grid even once.

“Just be thankful they care you got to 200,” Childers responded online. “When you get to 600 they don’t give a (poop emoji).”

NASCAR hit Rodney Childers with a big penalty


Kevin Harvick Battled a Hall of Famer Born in 1927 in the First Las Vegas Motor Speedway Race

Three days after Kevin Harvick finished 29th in the Talladega playoff race, NASCAR suddenly remembered who Rodney Childers was. Harvick had recently become vocal about safety issues with the Cup Series’ new Next Gen car. Conspiracy theorists weren’t surprised when NASCAR impounded the No. 4 Ford for further inspection at its R&D center.

The inspection turned up a modification of the deck lid. Harvick and Stewart-Haas Racing team suffered points penalties, but Childers took the biggest hit: a $100,000 fine and a four-week suspension.

The irony of Harvick having recently complained about “crappy-ass parts” provided by suppliers after his far erupted in flames a month earlier during the Southern 500 was lost on no one. However, NASCAR president Steve Phelps emphasized Harvick wasn’t a target. “No one has a vendetta against Kevin Harvick or Rodney or anyone at Stewart-Haas Racing.”

Childers hardly sounded surprised by the penalty, tweeting, “Shocker …”

Got a question or observation about racing? Sportscasting’s John Moriello does a mailbag column each Friday. Write to him at [email protected].