Rodney Childers, crew chief for Kevin Harvick in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, is not concerned about starting in the rear for the Coca Cola 600 on Sunday. “It doesn’t really matter. You either got a good car or you don’t, and I’m guessing it’ll be pretty good. We’ll just have to serve our penalty and move on”, said Childers.
Harvick, the hottest driver in the Cup Series right now, will start 39th for this year’s 600 after failing technical inspection multiple times on Thursday.
In addition to the poor starting position, Harvick will also lose 30 minutes of practice time in the next sessions for the Cup cars and the car chief will not be allowed at the race track for the remainder of the weekend.
While Childers seemed confused about why the car would not pass after multiple attempts, he did not blame the sanctioning body. “I think it’s something that’s been building throughout the year and at some point you had to get back control of it. There were some things in the garage that basically the template side of it wasn’t getting used and straight edges weren’t getting used and we were just purely going off the OSS, and that was fine until it somewhat starts getting out of hand. They changed some things around last week and some personnel around and positions around and started checking things differently. The whole garage had trouble last week, but we all got through it and I’ll be honest with you, we worked on this thing for 12 hours on Monday trying to get all of it how they wanted it. We felt good about it when we unloaded it. We went through there and the hotel was green and everything was good, and then we went back through for qualifying and it was red. We sanded on it and it was more red, and we sanded on it again and it was more red, so that part of it I don’t understand. That part is disappointing, but it’s not their fault. Everybody is gonna push things as much as they can and I think everybody knows that the 4 team is out to push things as much as they can and win races, so it’s disappointing to start in the back. It’s disappointing not to have Cheddar (Smith, car chief) here, but we’ll get through it as a race team and we’ll have a good car on Sunday.”
This display of confidence should have the the other teams concerned. Childers has good reason to be confident. The No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team has been impressive this season. In 12 starts, Harvick has scored five wins, nine top-fives, 10 top-tens and has led 820 laps. If this season’s performance is any indicator, Harvick will be in the hunt for the win. He has 600 miles to find his way to the front.