The “I Believe That We Will Win” chant returned Sunday in victory lane at Kansas Speedway, signifying belief for Kevin Harvick’s team after a brief period of lost faith.
Crew chief Rodney Childers recently reaffixed a sign sporting the slogan to the back door of the No. 4 Chevrolet’s hauler, where it has been hanging for nearly two years.
“Honestly, I thought it had started to stall,” Childers told NBC Sports. “I thought it was getting old with our team, and we needed something new. So I took it off the back door and come up with something totally new and put it on the back door for a while.
“Things weren’t going good, so I tore it back off and we went back to what works.”
The “I Believe That We Will Win” sign was hung up again shortly before the 2016 playoffs. Harvick has won in the middle race of the first two rounds to secure advancement.
Childers said Harvick texted the slogan – which was popularized by the U.S. Men’s National Team during the 2014 World Cup — to team members before the Oct. 11, 2014 race at Charlotte Motor Speedway, which Harvick won on his way to the championship.
“Kevin basically said this is what we need to live by these next few weeks,” Childers said. “We believed in that. We did the same thing last year. It’s always written on our back door of the hauler.”
Harvick has made a habit of capturing must-win races. Since the playoffs were restructured three seasons ago, he has six Chase victories – each of which either advanced him to the next round or claimed a championship.
“That’s just another example of those guys believing in themselves, and I love it when they’re having fun,” Harvick told NBC Sports about hearing the chant. “To hear those guys and see them as excited as they are, I know I’m excited. This is what we do this for is to win races. There’s no better feeling than winning races, and you put your back against the wall and see a whole group of guys come together and accomplish something that a lot of people can’t do, it’s just a great feeling.”
Harvick said the dynamic of his team works because “everybody gets along. We’re all approximately the same ages. Most of us have families. That’s really the case at Stewart-Haas Racing from top to bottom. So we don’t have that generation gap of communication from older leaders to a younger staff. It’s a good chemistry of people that makes it work and wants to race.”
Harvick chuckled when told that Childers had removed the “I Believe That We Will Win” sign.
“I didn’t know that,” he said. “Those guys are a lot more superstitious than I am. I believe in fast cars and good preparation are what wins races, not signs in the hauler. So whatever works for them, I’m money. I’m with them. If that’s what we’ve got to, I’m good with that.”
So what was the new slogan that Childers had tried to use?
“I don’t even remember now,” he said with a laugh. “It doesn’t matter at this point. We’re going with what works.”