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How The Wood Brothers Fumbled a Championship Crew Chief

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What’s Happening?

On Tuesday, Championship crew chief Rodney Childers and Spire Motorsports shocked the NASCAR world by announcing they would partner up for the 2025 season. This came despite Childers’ interest in sticking with his current driver, Josh Berry. What happened?

  • Rodney Childers is arguably the best crew chief in NASCAR. With 40 wins and the 2014 Cup Series Championship with Kevin Harvick, Childers was one of the most coveted crew chiefs of NASCAR Silly Season following the announcement of Stewart-Haas Racing’s shutdown.
  • For whatever reason, the Wood Brothers decided not to bring in Childers. Was this a misfire from the team, or was there something else in line?
  • Fans were shocked to see Childers heading to Spire. Many assumed he would move with Berry or go to a “Tier One” team like Front Row Motorsports.

Everything We Know

When Stewart-Haas Racing announced its shutdown, the focus quickly turned to which drivers and crew chiefs would end up where. Six weeks later, three drivers and Childers all have new homes for 2025.

Childers and Berry seemed interested in working together again in 2025. After announcing he would join The Wood Brothers, Berry told Sirius XM NASCAR Radio that Childers would meet with the team. Well, Childers ended up going to Spire instead.

Childers explained his decision to the media on Tuesday. He explained that he wasn’t expecting a decision at The Wood Brothers for a while, and Spire wanted him from the get-go.

Josh [Berry] has been great to work with. I think the biggest thing on that side of things is it came in pretty late. I think, for me, that was something that was probably going to be two months from now, whether that decision was made or not. I had already talked to everybody at Spire, and a few different people. To sit around for two months and wonder if I was going to get something or not, or maybe end up with nothing, that’s not a good place to be as far as our family and what we have going on. The other side of that, is you want to feel wanted.

Rodney Childers

Why Did the Wood Brothers Not Hire Childers?

As Childers noted, some of it was timing. Berry took a while to get a deal done for 2025, and by that time, Childers had already been deep in discussions with Spire.

However, once The Wood Brothers signed Berry, it took too long to give Childers a true chance. In the above clip, Berry said to Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, “Everybody deserves a fair opportunity at it,” regarding the crew chief role.

Still, Childers is easily the most accomplished crew chief on the market. If there’s any chance a team can get him, they better pounce quickly. Berry said Childers would talk to The Wood Brothers, but Childers said he would not know for around two months. The Wood Brothers did not act quickly enough, even though the Spire negotiations meant they potentially had little time to act.

At that point, Childers had a choice. Either wait out a job for a non-“Tier One” team with the driver he works with now or take an offer already on the table at an up-and-coming team that’s at least as good as The Wood Brothers. He wisely chose to take the sure thing.

Maybe the Team Penske alliance had something to do with it. Was Roger Penske on board with bringing someone like Childers in? That’s impossible to answer, but he certainly would have had some say in the decision, given the relationship between The Wood Brothers and Penske.

Either way, this feels like a missed opportunity for the Wood Brothers. We don’t know everything that happened behind the scenes, and it’s possible that Spire was too far down the road for the Wood Brothers to have done anything. However, we will always wonder if things would have looked different if they committed to Childers earlier in the process.

What do you think about all this? Let us know on Discord or X what your take is, and don’t forget you can also follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and even YouTube.

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