Kevin Harvick‘s 17th Cup Series win with crew chief Rodney Childers was a big one.
The victory in Sunday’s race at ISM Raceway marked the first time Harvick had strung together three consecutive Cup victories.
It also came after the No. 4 team was hit with penalties after its win the previous week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“When you back Kevin Harvick into a corner, he’s going to come out swinging,” Burton said. “He relishes the opportunity to prove that he and his team are better than you. I think when the chips are down and people give up on Kevin Harvick, I think that’s when he’s his best.”
Despite not having the best car Sunday, Burton said the No. 4 team “willed themselves to a win.”
Letarte discussed the first time he saw Harvick and Childers working together during a test at Charlotte Motor Speedway before their first season together in 2014, which resulted in a Cup title.
“They were hands down the best car at Charlotte, at a test,” Letarte said. “Then we knew this would be a team to reckon with.”
Letarte also marveled at the “polar opposites” of Harvick and Childers’ personalities.
“Fiery Kevin Harvick and soft-spoken, no animation Rodney Childers,” Letarte said.”But when you put them together, they are a force because they play off each other. Rodney doesn’t need the media. Kevin Harvick, very successful in it.”
Earnhardt, who won five times in the Cup Series with Letarte as his crew chief, said a strong relationship between driver and crew chief makes the “pride and joy” in winning races “means that much more.”
“They showed some really good unity and strength,” Earnhardt continued. “They had each other’s back in the media and how they methodically went through this whole process over the last week.”
Watch the above video for more on the relationship between Harvick and his crew chief.