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July 9, 2024

Spire Motorsports signs Rodney Childers to multiyear deal

Rodney Childers looks on.

Spire Motorsports announced Tuesday morning that crew chief Rodney Childers will be atop the pit box for Corey LaJoie and the No. 7 Chevrolet in a multiyear deal starting in 2025.

This transition is a significant move for Spire Motorsports as Childers became a coveted free agent after the announcement earlier this year that Stewart-Haas Racing would close at the end of the season. The 40-time NASCAR Cup Series race-winning crew chief is one of the sport’s most respected shot-callers in the garage, leading Kevin Harvick to the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series championship. He’s the winningest active crew chief in the Cup Series.

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“We are beyond excited to announce Rodney Childers as the crew chief for Corey LaJoie and Spire Motorsports’ No. 7 team beginning in 2025,” said Spire Motorsports co-owner Jeff Dickerson. “There are decisions that professional racing teams make daily that take courage, require deep thought and have some element of rolling the dice. To be clear, this wasn’t one of them. Rodney is a Hall-of-Fame worthy, championship-winning crew chief with 40 wins. He is one of the best in the garage, and when a guy like Rodney is available, it would be malpractice if we did anything but our absolute best to bring him into our growing organization. He will make us better the moment he walks into our shop, and we look forward to his contributions to our collective success.”

Ryan Sparks, currently crew chief of the No. 7 while also serving as the team’s competition director this season, will transition to a singular role as Spire’s official Competition Director at the conclusion of the 2024 season.

“Ryan Sparks is an amazing leader and has been a huge part of our organization since the first moment he clocked in,” Dickerson continued. “As he transitions from managing two roles to focusing on Spire Motorsports as a whole, it’s important to point out that he was one of the first guys who talked to me about bringing Rodney in. Lots of guys say they’ll put the team first, but there aren’t a lot of guys who follow through, and that speaks to the type of competitor and human Ryan is. He has been balancing being a crew chief and the competition director for the last couple of seasons. This move will allow him to focus solely on the competition director role. As we continue to grow, his knowledge and leadership will become even more instrumental to our success.”

Childers led Harvick to eight postseason appearances in their decade together, including five Championship 4 appearances between 2014-19. His drivers have collected 34 poles, 178 top-five and 298 top-10 finishes in 660 races with him atop the box.

This move represents a new chapter in Childers’ illustrious career. He will bring a new level of professionalism and precision to Spire.

“The thing that attracted me to Spire a lot was just they’re investing in the people. And if we’re all going to have to run the same parts, then the people is what’s going to make a difference,” Childers said during his media availability at NASCAR Productions Facility. “Yeah, some of these guys have a 25-year head start on us. But if you get the right group of people and the right mindset, people that are going to work hard and do all the right things, and you can still run with the big teams. You’ve got to go out there and be perfect. And you can’t flounder around by any means.”

Adding Childers to its organization adds another stepping stone in building the winning culture Spire aims to foster in the future. Crew members from the No. 4 team even saw the vision Spire was building, leading to a few of them switching to Spire over the 2023 off-season.

“Being able to talk to them every week about how much they loved it there and how much they were growing and just everything about it, none of them had a negative thing to say, and they kept saying that it reminded them of the No. 4 team in the early days of just how they all get along,” Childers added.

Team president Doug Duchardt also shared more on the trajectory Spire is working towards with the addition of Childers.

“I think someone like Rodney can help us determine how to get our cars to the next level,” Duchardt said. “I think we’re doing really well. But the thing is that it’s just incremental improvements in every little area that get you to that next level. And I think we’re just knocking on that door. And that’s where I think we’re going to focus as a group.

“We know that we’re growing. And we respect the competition enough to know that it’s a bit of a journey. But you have to embrace the journey,” Duchardt said. “And that’s why I try to tell everyone; we know that it’s a steep hill. But you have to embrace that and be okay with it, knowing that you can get there.”

Childers echoed a similar sentiment when talking about his goals in competing with the No. 7 team. “There’s going to be steps. There are going to be hard days. There are going to be good days. There’s going to be good tracks. There are going to be bad tracks. It’s not going to be a miracle. But we’re going to chip away at it every single week.”