Rodney Childers

NASCAR America: Comparing severity of Harvick, Keselowski and Allmendinger penalties

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NASCAR handed out two crew chief suspensions in the Cup this week following the race weekend in Phoenix while another was upheld on appeal.

Brad Keselowski‘s crew chief, Paul Wolfe, was suspended three races and the team was docked 35 driver and owners points for failing weights and measurements in post-race inspection.

Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, was suspended one race and the team docked 10 driver and owner points for an unapproved track bar slider assembly.

The penalties for AJ Allmendinger‘s team, including the suspension of crew chief Randall Burnett, was upheld after an appeal.

The NASCAR America crew debates which team is hurt the most by their penalties.

 

Stewart-Haas Racing to appeal penalties to Kevin Harvick and No. 4 team

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Stewart-Haas Racing announced Thursday morning it will appeal penalties issued to Kevin Harvick and his team for the L1  infraction discovered after last weekend’s race at Phoenix Raceway.

NASCAR docked Harvick and the team 10 points each, suspended crew chief Rodney Childers one race and fined him $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly. NASCAR also ruled Harvick’s sixth-place result was an encumbered finish.

Stewart-Haas Racing’s statement read: “Stewart-Haas Racing has officially requested an appeal hearing regarding the penalties levied against the No. 4 team and have also requested a deferral of the penalties until the appeal process is complete.”

NASCAR has granted SHR’s appeal to defer Childers’ suspension, allowing the crew chief to be with the team this weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

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Kevin Harvick crew chief fined, suspended one race for encumbered finish

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Kevin Harvick‘s crew chief, Rodney Childers, has been suspended for one NASCAR Cup Series race and fined $25,000 for an unapproved track bar slider assembly last weekend at Phoenix Raceway.

The penalty, a L1 infraction, results in an encumbered finish. Harvick placed sixth in the Camping World 500.

The No. 4 team has also been docked 10 driver and owner points. Harvick was seventh in the standings after four races. He trailed leader Kyle Larson by 61 points. The loss of points drops Harvick one spot to eighth behind Jamie McMurray.

Harvick has not won a race yet, which would qualify him for the playoffs.

MORE: Brad Keselowski closes crew chief for three races, team docked 35 driver points

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NASCAR on NBC podcast, Ep. 63: Rodney Childers says intentionally going slow was wrong move

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When he met with crew chief Rodney Childers about joining forces three years ago, Kevin Harvick was impressed by what the crew chief’s goals, even if they seemed daunting.

Set the pace in every practice. Win every pole. Lead every lap.

Win every race. Win the title.

The approach has worked for Childers and Harvick, who captured the 2014 Cup championship in their first year together.

And per a recent tweet from Childers, who was the first crew chief guest on the NASCAR on NBC podcast this week, it remains the philosophy for 2017.

“Unless you have that mentality, you’re not ever going to do that,” Childers said on the podcast.

After leading more than 2,000 laps in the 2014 and ’15 seasons, Harvick dropped off to 1,384 laps led in 2016 and didn’t advance to the championship round after two consecutive appearances.

Childers said it was partly because the team drifted from the philosophy.

“At the end of 2015, I thought it was the wrong thing to do,” he said. “People were looking at us too much and end up focused on you. We were (having our car inspected at the NASCAR R&D Center) too many times.”

Childers said the No. 4 team tried to pull things back by having Harvick run slower for early laps in practice.

“It ate me alive,” Childers said. “I told these guys I’m done with that. We’re going back to the same things we said and be fast all the time. I’d rather have it that way.”

The pressure already has been ratcheted up with Stewart-Haas Racing’s switch from Chevrolet to Ford.

“Everybody in our group likes a challenge,” Childers said. “For me, I get bored after a while. You go through a switch like this, it makes you excited again. It makes you work harder. Makes you go through the details again. You look at every little thing.”

During the podcast, Childers also addressed:

–Why SHR’s relationship with Hendrick Motosports had run its course;

–How he pushes Kevin Harvick’s buttons;

–His former career as a driver.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the AudioBoom embed below or download and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes by clicking here. The free subscription will provide automatic downloads of new episodes to your smartphone. It also is available on Stitcher by clicking here and also can be found on Google Play, Spotify and a host of other smartphone apps.

Jimmie Johnson pays it forward to NASCAR Cup, Xfinity rookies

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Long before he won a record-tying seven NASCAR Cup championships, Jimmie Johnson received good advice and guidance from countless individuals in the early years of his career.

Johnson is now paying things forward. At NASCAR’s recent Young Driver’s Conference, where NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series rookies were given instruction on what to expect in their new series, Johnson imparted some of the lessons he learned years ago.

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookies this season will include Erik Jones (No. 77 Toyota), Daniel Suarez (No. 19 Toyota), Ty Dillon (No. 13 Chevrolet) and Gray Gaulding (No. 23 Toyota).

Jones and Suarez are already NASCAR champions. Jones won the 2015 Camping World Truck Series title; Suarez won the 2016 Xfinity Series champ.

Also in the audience when Johnson spoke were 2017 Xfinity Series rookies William Byron, Matt Tifft, Cole Custer, Spencer Gallagher and Daniel Hemric.

“I was excited to speak, excited to share some of my stories,” Johnson told NBC Sports. “A few of those stories and the points I made consisted of you’ve got to be you. And as you get going through your career, you’re going to be labeled with something if you like it or not.

“People have thought, the first one I had, was that I had a silver spoon in my mouth. People didn’t realize the upbringing I had and how hard I worked to get into those quality rides that provided so much for me. And the other is being vanilla.

“I think that’s all kind of behind me now. But my point to the rookies is you’re going to be labeled something, be you, don’t let the outside world change you. You have to stay focused on who or what you are and what got you to this point.”

Another element that Johnson conveyed to those who are following in his footsteps and tire tracks is patience.

“I’ve given plenty of examples of being patient in my career and how they’ve worked out for me,” Johnson said. “It’s the hardest thing to hear as a driver, to be patient, but it does pay off.”

And never forget where you came from, Johnson added.

“The other piece is remember everybody as you’re climbing this ladder because at some point, you’re going to have come down that ladder,” he said. “Not everybody makes it to being a full-time driver and has a driving job.

“Rodney Childers (Kevin Harvick’s crew chief) is my example for that. Rodney and I came in and were both racing for rookie of the year honors in the Busch Series in 2000. Our paths took far different routes, but we still ended up with championships (Johnson with seven Cup championships, Childers won the 2014 Cup championship with Harvick).”

In conclusion, Johnson summed up what he told the young drivers.

“So you never know where you’re going to end up, don’t burn bridges, remember how to handle things and worry about your reputation.”

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