Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Josh Berry 'lit that fire' again for Rodney Childers

CONCORD, N.C. -- Josh Berry has only been the driver of the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford for 20 races. This is not a significant amount of time, but he has made a major difference in the life of his crew chief, Rodney Childers.

"Josh is an amazing person and it's just been fun," Childers told media members Tuesday. "It's kind of lit that fire in me again.

"I feel like everybody on the team has been behind him and pushing really hard, and for me, I kind of needed that."

Childers spent 2014-23 working with one driver while achieving significant success. He and Kevin Harvick celebrated 37 wins and a championship together while regularly appearing in the playoffs.

This highly successful partnership came to an end after the 2023 season as Harvick retired from NASCAR to go work in the Fox Sports booth. This meant that Childers and SHR needed to find a new driver for the No. 4 Ford.

Team co-owner Tony Stewart gave Childers the choice of three or four drivers to take over Harvick's old car. This decision took the veteran crew chief all of 15 seconds.

"We knew over the last two years that Kevin was going to leave," Childers said, "and for me, that was just crushing. I mean, he was everything to me and to have to go through that and to know every single week -- like every day when I was driving to the shop, it's like, 'What am I gonna do next? What am I gonna do without him?'

"And I think just finally getting over that and getting back to work and working with a young driver that's enthusiastic and kids around with all the road guys all the time and all kinds of different things, it just brought that fire back."

Childers and Berry will part ways after one season together. The Tennessee driver will head to Wood Brothers Racing on a multi-year deal to take over the No. 21 Ford Mustang. Childers will head to Spire Motorsports on a multi-year deal to be the crew chief of the No. 7 team.

While Berry will no longer be the driver working with Childers, his impact will continue to be felt. The veteran crew chief will use this reignited fire as he tries to get Corey LaJoie to victory lane for the first time.

Childers goal is to turn the No. 7 team into the new No. 4 team.

Achieving this goal will be by no means simple. There will be hard days, there will be DNFs, and there will be times when the setup is just wrong.

That's perfectly fine for Childers. He's ready to embrace this battle. He's not yet ready to go quietly into a managerial role where he no longer heads to the track each week.

"Do you want to just stay at home and be some kind of shop guy or whatever," Childers asked. "That's not me yet. I still get goosebumps when they sing the national anthem.

"And I told (wife) Katrina that for a long time -- until I quit getting goosebumps, I'm gonna keep doing it."