Great article.......explains the early leak of the news That Harvick was coming to SHR...love the last sentence......
KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Their first meeting was at Richard Childress Racing.
Kevin Harvick was looking for a new crew chief after parting ways with Shane Wilson in August 2012 and had told RCR officials he was interested in Rodney Childers. Reputations "spread like wildfire" in the Sprint Cup garage, Harvick told USA TODAY Sports, and he had heard great things about Childers.
CHILDERS: Navigates life, career to become top crew chief
Intrigued, Childers agreed to meet with Harvick, Childress and other team officials for more than two hours. But when Childers left the meeting, something didn't feel right. He couldn't put his finger on what it was, so he sent Harvick a text message that night asking when his contract was up at RCR.
Harvick replied: "Well, we need to talk about that. Give me a few days."
Sure enough, a few days later, Harvick told his team owner he would not be returning to RCR after his contract expired at the end of 2013. He then texted Childers with the news.
"I sent back, 'Holy crap,' " Childers said.
That was the start of a long get-to-know-you process which Harvick has frequently compared to dating.
"For me, getting to know Rodney was like getting to know my wife," Harvick said.
HARVICK: Overcomes tough stretch to claim second win of 2014
After a text message here or a phone call there, Childers grew frustrated with the pace of their relationship as he struggled with the idea of leaving Michael Waltrip Racing and friend Brian Vickers, set to take over the No. 55 Toyota. He requested a meeting with Harvick last July.
"I went to his house and sat beside his pool out there for four hours straight and never moved, just talking," Childers said. "When I left there, I sent (wife) Katrina a message and said, 'That's what I need to do.' "
But the firm decision was short-lived. Four days later, Childers and Vickers unexpectedly won the race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. He sent Katrina another message: "I need to stay."
"With me knowing Brian since he was a little kid, getting him back into victory lane, that meant a lot. It was pretty dramatic," Childers said.
He soon started to question himself again. SHR's Ryan Newman won the next week at Indianapolis, and Hendrick-powered cars like Newman's were six of the top seven finishers. Childers, like everyone else in the NASCAR garage, took notice.
Over the next several weeks, he went back and forth, losing sleep.
His conclusion: "If I'm ever going to win the Daytona 500 or the Brickyard 400 or any of these big races, I'm going to have to be associated with that (Hendrick) group somehow."
Now, Harvick is the only driver to have two victories this season and has quickly bonded with his crew chief. The biggest picture in Childers' office is a shot from behind of the two walking together at a race, Harvick with his arm around Childers.
"I ended up taking the job because I thought Kevin was really good," he said. "The thing I didn't know is he's really, really, really good. I always said there was Jimmie Johnson and then there was everybody else. But that's not really the truth. I think Kevin is as good or better than Jimmie."
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