Daniel Knost – former crew chief for both Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick – will fill in as crew chief for Kevin Harvick and the No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford Fusion team this weekend at Martinsville Speedway, site of Sunday’s STP 500.
SHR dropped its appeal earlier this week of a one-race suspension against Rodney Childers, Harvick’s crew chief. Childers will sit out this weekend and pay a $25,000 fine after being penalized by NASCAR for an unapproved track bar assembly in post-race inspection March 19 following the Phoenix race.
“Basically we got in trouble for a part that was drawn a certain way and didn’t appear that way on the car,” Harvick said in a media release. “The way that NASCAR works now is you submit drawings for pretty much every part on your car. It has to meet certain specifications and that part didn’t meet it, so Rodney’s going to get to go on vacation this week.”
Harvick also was penalized 10 driver points, and the No. 4 team lost 10 owner points for the infraction.
Knost is SHR’s director of vehicle dynamics. Previously, he was Busch’s crew chief for 33 races in 2014, including working together to earn a win at Martinsville in April of that year.
Knost then moved to Patrick’s team as crew chief for the last three races of 2014 and the entire 2015 season.
Harvick has one career win at Martinsville (spring 2006). But he’s struggled in the last two races at the half-mile, paper clip-shaped oval, finishing 17th last spring and 20th last fall.
“I know this is probably one of the most painful weeks for (Childers) to go on vacation because Martinsville really hasn’t been our best track,” Harvick said. “… We push things and that’s what I want them to do. I want them to push everything on that car.
“Sometimes you’re going to get in trouble, but those guys have been the best in the business for the last three years. It’s kind of like growing up as a kid – sometimes you get in trouble and you have to suffer the consequences.”