NASCAR’s modern winningest crew chief joins new team for 2025

Rodney Childers will stay on the road

Read More: Why Rodney Childers is joining Spire Motorsports to work with Corey Lajoie

One of the most decorated crew chiefs of this era will have a new mission starting next season and beyond.

Rodney Childers, who has won 40 races and the 2014 NASCAR Cup Series championship, will join Spire Motorsports to lead the No. 7 team and driver Corey Lajoie next season. Ryan Sparks, who is serving as both crew chief for the No. 7 and the competition director for the organization, will focus on working in just the latter capacity.

Childers, who is also the winningest active crew chief at the highest level, and has led Kevin Harvick to 37 wins and the championship but also got David Reutimann and Brian Vickers to Victory Lane while at Michael Waltrip Racing.

The deal was finalized at the team shop in Mooresville, North Carolina where Childers enjoyed a private ceremony with wife wife Katrina and twin sons Brody and Gavin in attendance.   

“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 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 the last couple 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.”  

In addition to the 40 wins, the 20-year-veteran has amassed 34 poles, 178 top-five and 298 top-10 finishes in 660 career starts atop the pit box. He currently works with Josh Berry at Stewart-Haas Racing, which will close at the end of the season, with Berry having already signed a deal to race for Wood Brothers Racing next season.

“I think the biggest thing is seeing how Spire Motorsports has grown over the last couple of years,” said Childers. “They are investing in people, and that’s what makes a difference these days. We all buy the same chassis, bodies and parts. What makes a difference is the people. Spire continues to invest in the people within the team and they seek out good people to add depth to an already strong group. Corey (LaJoie) is a veteran of the sport and I think we have a tremendous opportunity in front of us.”

“Spire has been on my radar for the past year. I had quite a few guys from the No. 4 team go over there and they keep telling me how much they enjoy it, what the culture is like and how well everybody gets along. That started it from my side. The rest was the way Jeff (Dickerson) and Doug Duchardt (Spire Motorsports President) handled my situation. They told me how much I was wanted and how I could make a difference. For anybody in this world, all you want is to feel wanted and loved, and I felt that through them. I also see it as a place that can be good for my family, long term. My kids are three years from graduating high school. With the truck teams there, it’s somewhere they can grow, learn and possibly work one day.”

Sparks has been paired with Lajoie since 2020 where they have earned three top-5s and six top-10s with their first top-25 points finish last season.

“Our motto has been brick-by-brick for the last four years and this is another key component to building higher degrees of success,” said Sparks. “When you have the opportunity to bring in a championship-caliber crew chief like Rodney Childers, you have to capitalize. This is an incredible opportunity for the company and the bottom line is we’re all in this to put Spire Motorsports first. For me, this is an opportunity to be an asset across the board. There’s going to be a little bit of a transition but I’m excited to help all three teams and the company, as a whole. This move makes the whole group stronger.”

Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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