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June 27, 2020

Rodney Childers

Long Pond, Pennsylvania

THE MODERATOR: We are joined by Rodney Childers. We'll start off with questions for Rodney.

Q. Now that you and Kevin finally got Pocono crossed off the list, where does this win rank in your career, knowing you got the Pocono win together?
RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, every win is a big win, of course. It's seems like this place has been tough on us. We've been really fast every single year since we started the 4 car in 2014, '15, so on, so forth. We've been right there every year. We've had little things that have happened that have kept us from winning races here. Felt like we had an awesome car both races last year, couldn't capitalize.
To be able to come here and honestly I was going to say unload with a good car, but at the beginning of the race we weren't very good at all. We had to work on it a little bit. The racetrack came to us a little bit.
Overall everybody at Stewart‑Haas Racing gave us a great car, Doug Yates and all his guys built us a great engine. That's really the key of it, you have to have all that right and do your job at the racetrack.

Q. Do you feel this team now is rounding into championship form, all the pieces coming together? Are there some things you still need to sort of plug in or holes you need to plug to get there?
RODNEY CHILDERS: Well, I would say that we have the best group. We haven't had a lot of people that have come and gone. Overall we do have the best group, best shop guys, best pit crew, best road crew we've ever had. That's what's important. I think everybody knows the people side of it is the most important part.
To say we're in championship form? I don't know what championship form is. Is championship form unloading off the truck, no practice and qualifying? Is championship form going back to the old schedule and doing the things that we've always done?
I will say I feel like for the 4 team it is an advantage to unload and not have practice and those things. Our history of our team has been unloading good and doing a great job at the racetrack of details, all that stuff.
I think some of this, since we went back to racing, has been in our hands and our wheelhouse a little bit. Obviously with being able to win three of them, coming close to even more, that part shows.
It's been a great deal for us so far. Hopefully we can keep it up.

Q. Does the teardown after winning put you behind as far as getting stuff ready for tomorrow?
RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, I mean, it will a little bit. Overall hopefully we'll have enough time here. It's definitely going to be tight. Now that I look at my watch, realize exactly what time is really is, yeah, it's going to be pretty tight. I'm supposed to be out there changing brakes and hubs. The longer I'm on here, the more behind we're going to be (laughter).
We'll get it done. I think from a body standpoint there was a little bit more damage on the car than what I thought there was. Actually a hole in the nose which probably wasn't helping at all. Somehow we've got to get that fixed tonight along with doing all of our maintenance stuff and engine stuff. Hopefully get all that taken care of.

Q. Kevin talked about challenges. You did have a couple of COVID positives in the shop. Has that impacted the prep for the races?
RODNEY CHILDERS: I would say it has. It's really been hard on the shop guys. Keeping the shop guys and road guys separated, it's a lot harder than what it sounds. It takes everybody to get these things ready to race, get them ready to load on the truck. Last week before Talladega I didn't go to the shop a single day. This week I was only there for probably three hours one day.
We've tried to do everything that we can do to keep people as safe as possible. My engineer Dax has completely stayed away from the shop. He hasn't been to the shop in a month. You have to look at that. You have to look at people like Kevin and myself and Dax, all those people.
Anybody on the race team can't be replaced, but if it's a mechanic in the shop, at least there's another mechanic in the shop that can help out. We don't have an extra Kevin Harvick sitting in the closet. Sometimes I wish we had two of him, but we don't. We don't have another one of me, we don't have another Dax.
It's been tough. Everybody has been doing a great job with it, just trying to do our best.

Q. What kind of adjustments do you feel you need to make to the car overnight to roll off better than you started today?
RODNEY CHILDERS: Yeah, I mean, I think some of that was my fault. We've always needed to start the race a little tighter, then free it up as it went. Then when we drew ninth, Man, we're going to be stuck back there in traffic, not being able to go anywhere at the beginning of the race anyway, (indiscernible), be good on the long run. That didn't work out at all. We were out of control there at the beginning. We needed some adjustments to get it back going.
Honestly we just got to look at things. You learn so much by just inspecting the cars after the races, looking at your side skirts and everything up underneath, the splitter. It's all about the small details.
Honestly, I haven't even talked to Kevin yet. I'm not sure what we need to make better. He said after the race we can definitely make it better. Getting his feedback, talking to our engineers, looking at the car will be key. Hopefully we'll make some decisions in the morning.

Q. Will strategy change much at all tomorrow with a longer race?
RODNEY CHILDERS: The biggest thing that's going to change is not having that competition yellow at the beginning of the race. That was kind of a key moment in there. Starting 20th tomorrow, it's going to be tough. As you saw even when we were leading the race, we had a hard time passing cars.
We've got to try to make our car probably a little bit better in traffic, which is hard for us to do for some reason. We can never make our car that great in traffic compared to maybe the Gibbs guys and stuff like that at this place. We're able to have good speed if we can ever get the car out front.
It's a fine line of what you do there. Seems like every time we hurt our speed, it doesn't make us better in traffic either. We just got to put our heads together and hopefully make the right adjustments for tomorrow.
THE MODERATOR: Congratulations and sorry you have to do some more work tonight. Good luck in that endeavor and tomorrow's race.
RODNEY CHILDERS: Thank you, guys. Appreciate it.

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