Crew chief Rodney Childers said a brace failed, causing a portion of the right rear window to bow, but that he doesn’t believe it helped Kevin Harvick win last weekend’s Cup race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Speaking on “The Morning Drive” Tuesday, Childers detailed what happened:
“Basically, we had a rear window brace fail and NASCAR mandates that we run a certain T-bar in the back glass and that T-bar is actually pretty strong,’’ Childers said. “Then also over the winter they wanted the rear package to raise the bottom of the rear glass to be really stiff and stay controlled — there were some guys that were having their rear package trays falling an inch at the end the year last year.
“The bottom of the glass got strengthened up and the T-bar is stiff and the center brace that holds that T-bar is what bent and failed and the T-bar ends up being stronger than the back of roof at that point and then pulled the back of the roof down.
“To be honest, that stuff has been a struggle over many, many years. I can remember being at Michigan with Mark Martin in 2012. You’re just going so fast at those intermediate tracks and you’ve got so much air pushing down on that stuff. I remember Mark coming off the race track and we had a 2-inch gap from the bottom of the glass to the deck lid when we came in from practice and had to modify all that stuff.’’
Childers said the team has made provisions to avoid a repeat of what happened at Las Vegas.
“We’re going to learn from this,’’ Childers told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “It’s not something that we wanted to happen. You definitely don’t want the back of the roof sharp. You want the back of the roof round and you want that to be a smooth transition. I think that everybody thinks that it helps. I would suggest that it probably didn’t help.
“The wind tunnels don’t blow fast enough to even to get to that speed to know whether it was good or bad. It’s something that we’ve got to address.
“We’ve already addressed on the California cars and making the roof stiffer in that area and trying to make sure that it doesn’t happen again. Like I said, the car was plenty fast enough before that happened, and I think everybody in the garage knows that and it’s just something that we need to put behind us and move on.’’
Asked if he anticipated any more conversations with NASCAR about the matter, Childers said:
“I wouldn’t think so. I think the biggest thing is getting it fixed and making sure that it doesn’t happen again. I think all the guys there they understand aerodynamics and they understand what goes on. We all communicate and we try to do the right things. I think also my reputation over there is pretty good.
“Like I said, it’s not something to be proud of. We’re proud of winning races and having fast cars. Whether a brace failed or not, we were going to win the other day. That’s really the whole story.’’