CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Rodney Childers wrestled for months with the decision to join Kevin Harvick at Stewart-Haas Racing. Just when he thought he’d made up his mind to leave Michael Waltrip Racing, he and Brian Vickers won a race together at New Hampshire.
Weeks went by after that victory last July when Childers thought his heart was truly in remaining with MWR. He woke up one day and his mind was finally made up.
“My alarm went off and it hit me, it was like, ‘I need to go to Stewart-Haas and crew chief Kevin Harvick,”’ Childers told The Associated Press this week.
So much for peace of mind: MWR reacted to his decision by essentially benching Childers for the rest of the season. He couldn’t work for almost six weeks. He pressure washed his house, tweeted with fans during races and had weekends off for the first time in his adult life.
Finally, in late October, MWR gave Childers his release and he was free to join to SHR and get a head-start on the 2014 season.
“When I started, it was a bit overwhelming, the way it’s run is different because the crew chiefs have a lot more control,” Childers said. “I got there and really wasn’t happy with the way the cars were built, the equipment needed to be a lot nicer. I started to think after six or seven days, ‘Man, this is going to take a long time to fix.”’
Childers grew so discouraged he thought it would be June or July before Harvick would win his first race with his new team.
Six weeks into the process, something suddenly changed.
“I left work one night and looked around and thought ‘Crap, we can win one of the first four races and we can contend just like anyone else can,”’ Childers said. “It had all come together so quickly, and from that moment on, our whole demeanor has been a lot different — it’s been about winning.”