Kevin Harvick will have a new rear tire changer on his pit crew for Sunday’s Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway (3 p.m. ET, NBC/NBC Sports App, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).
Chris McMullen, who has been the rear tire changer for Aric Almirola this season, will move from the No. 10 team to Harvick’s No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing crew this weekend. SHR made the move after Almirola was eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs field last weekend in Phoenix.
Michael Johnson will move from Harvick’s crew to Almirola’s No. 10 pit crew. Johnson has been Harvick’s rear tire changer since replacing Daniel Smith, who has been out because of health issues since the Bojangles’ Southern 500 in September.
Crew chief Rodney Childers said Tuesday afternoon on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that Smith took a leave of absence after being diagnosed with cancer.
“We had plugged (Johnson) in from Bristol until now. He has done an excellent job for us and has been a great team player, but he was a guy who had never changed on a Cup car before in his life,” Childers said during his afternoon appearance. “He stepped up to the plate … and he’s made it through these playoffs and got us to this position.
“But the reality of it is, we’re not quite fast enough (on pit road) to win a championship. As a company, we feel like the 4 has the best front tire changer right now and the 10 has the best rear tire changer right now, and we’re going to try to put the two of them together and see what happens.”
The change comes as Harvick will be without crew chief Rodney Childers for a second straight week. Childers was suspended for two races following an infraction after Harvick’s win in Texas. Tony Gibson has replaced Childers as Harvick’s crew chief during the suspension.