Friday, August 23, 2013

Childers Leaving MWR for Stewart Haas Racing

Michael Waltrip Racing may have kept the driver of its No. 55 car for next season, but its crew chief is heading elsewhere.

A team spokesperson on Friday morning confirmed an Associated Press report that Rodney Childers is bound for Stewart-Haas Racing, where he will call the signals for Kevin Harvick beginning in 2014. At MWR since 2009, Childers has overseen three NASCAR Sprint Cup Series victories, two by David Reutimann and the most recent by Brian Vickers earlier this season at New Hampshire.

Childers was not immediately available for comment. For the past two seasons, Childers has run a No. 55 team in which three different drivers -- Vickers, Waltrip and Mark Martin -- have split the car. Vickers will move into that ride full-time next season.

Beginning this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway, Martin is moving to Stewart-Haas to drive the No. 14 car for Tony Stewart, who broke his right leg in a sprint car crash earlier this month. Martin will drive every remaining race this year in Stewart’s vehicle save Talladega, where Austin Dillon will fill in. That means Vickers and Childers will work together on the No. 55 for every remaining race except Talladega, where Waltrip is scheduled to be behind the wheel.

Vickers and Childers have been close friends since their days racing go-karts, and Vickers and Waltrip have expressed repeatedly a desire to keep Childers in-house. His move to SHR adds another key piece to an organization that is not only bringing over Harvick from Richard Childress Racing beginning in 2014, but has also targeted Kurt Busch for a potential fourth car.


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