Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Rodney Childers can lean on fellow champions in new role

CONCORD, N.C. -- Rodney Childers has multiple reasons for making the move to Spire Motorsports in 2025. One of the biggest is the ability to lean on fellow championships within the Chevrolet family.

Childers will be back at Chevrolet for the first time since the 2016 season. This means he will have access to technology and people that he worked with at Stewart-Haas Racing before the team moved to Ford.

He will also have access to friends at NASCAR's winningest team, ones who have celebrated championships.

"I've done all my homework I can do, I have probably worn people out," Childers said in response to a question from AltDriver. "'What does that technical alliance look like with Hendrick (Motorsports)? With the pit crews? What information do I get? What information do I not get?'

"I've had conversations with Cliff (Daniels), I've had conversations with Alan (Gustafson), and had plenty of conversations with Mr. (Hendrick). For me, that was a big key too, just having somebody to lean on."

Childers is the active leader in crew chief wins. He's unquestionably one of the best crew chiefs in NASCAR history. Yet there are still times when he doesn't have the right answer for whatever reason.

He's not too stubborn to ask for advice because he knows it will only make his team better.

"Even right now, if I send Cliff a message and say, 'Do you think this air pressure is too low? Cliff's gonna tell me the truth. And that's because of our relationship and our past and sometimes you need that to lean on."

Childers will continue to lean on Daniels, Gustafson, and other Chevrolet crew chiefs once he makes the move to Spire Motorsports.

He will also lean on Luke Lambert, the crew chief he once competed against during his championship season, and Spire Motorsports Competition Director Ryan Sparks. Collaboration will be crucial.

Of course, this doesn't mean that Childers is going to automatically win that elusive Daytona 500, nor does it mean that Corey LaJoie will park the No. 7 in victory lane early in the 2025 season.

Becoming successful is a journey, one that Spire Motorsports has been on since its first Cup race in 2019. Adding Childers to the fold certainly helps, but there will still be hard moments.

The organization will struggle at times as it continues to establish a performance baseline. But that will only make the successes even sweeter.

"The championship, that moment in Homestead, is something you always remember," Spire Motorsports President Doug Duchardt said, referencing Childers winning the title in 2014.

"But the thing you really remember is the journey, the whole year, and what it took. Being at this part (of the journey) is that when you get to the top, it's all the sweeter because you remember what it took to get there."

Childers has been through hard times. His first contract at Michael Waltrip Racing even included a bonus for finishing inside the top 25.

He has also experienced success. He's celebrated 40 Cup wins and a championship. He's watched former engineers such as Billy Scott go on to become successful crew chiefs.

Childers has embraced every moment of this journey, something he will continue to do after moving to Spire Motorsports.

Childers doesn't want to be at a stoplight dreading his drive to work. He wants to be excited about the prospect of "working hard as crap" with everyone else in the shop. That's what he finds fun as he goes through the grueling season.

"There's a chance you might can win or there's a chance you might can finish 25th. You'd better have fun, and you'd better have people around you that you can enjoy."