NASCAR Bristol 2013: Rodney Childers leaving MWR to join SHR

Jared C. Tilton

Rodney Childers is leaving Michael Waltrip Racing to join Stewart-Haas Racing, where he will be the crew chief for Kevin Harvick next season.

One of the better crew chiefs in the Sprint Cup garage is switching teams for 2014.

Rodney Childers will move from Michael Waltrip Racing to Stewart-Haas Racing, where he will call the shots for Kevin Harvick. Childers is currently the crew chief for the MWR No. 55 car, which has been shared among three drivers -- Mark Martin, Brian Vickers and Waltrip.

The loss of Childers is a big blow for MWR. The team announced Aug. 13 that Vickers would drive the No. 55 full-time next season and hoped to ink Childers to a new contract to continue as crew chief. Waltrip had called re-signing Childers a priority.

Vickers and Childers were childhood friends and the two have had success working with one another. The pair won at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July and in 14 starts in the No. 55 over the last two years, Vickers has recorded seven top-10s.

In comments made to USA Today, Childers called his decision to leave MWR "personal."

"I've thought about it for a long time and just woke up one day and that's what my heart told me I should do," Childers told USA Today.

It is uncertain whether Childers will finish the season with MWR, a Toyota-backed team, or jump early to SHR, a Chevrolet-supported organization.

SHR competition director Greg Zipadelli confirmed the team is interested in Childers, but said nothing is official yet.

"We love Rodney, we think a lot of him, he has been a friend of mine for a while," Zipadelli said Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway. "We have talked to many people. He is on our radar, but we have no commitments, nothing signed. … We would love to make him part of Stewart-Haas, but we are not there yet."

More from SB Nation:

Michigan winners and losers

Stewart out for the season; Martin to drive No. 14

Ty Dillon moving to Nationwide Series in 2014

"Fired up" Kurt Busch finishes third

Longform: The good times and hard life of Dick Trickle

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