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Spire Motorsports inks Rodney Childers to multi-year agreement to lead No. 7 Chevrolet

Ryan Sparks Shifts to Competition Director Duties Full Time Next Season

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (July 9, 2024) – Rodney Childers, a 40-time NASCAR Cup Series (NCS) race winning crew chief and one of the sport’s most respected tacticians, will lead Spire Motorsports No. 7 team and driver Corey LaJoie in 2025.

Ryan Sparks, who currently serves in a dual role as both Spire Motorsports competition director and crew chief for LaJoie, will transition from his duties atop the pit box for the No. 7 team to a singular role as the organization’s Competition Director at the conclusion of the 2024 season.

Childers, 48, led Kevin Harvick to the 2014 NCS championship and is the winningest active crew chief in NASCAR’s premier division. The Mooresville native called 37 wins from 2014 – 2023. Prior to the over three dozen victories with Harvick, Childers is credited with leading drivers David Reutimann and Brian Vickers to Victory Lane.

The agreement was finalized last night in private at the team’s Mooresville headquarters with Childers’ 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.”

Childers led Harvick to eight NASCAR Playoff berths over 10 seasons including five appearances (three consecutive) in the NASCAR Championship 4 between 2014-2019.

Separate from the 40 wins, the 20-year-veteran has called 34 poles, 178 top-five and 298 top-10 finishes in 660 races on NASCAR’s senior circuit.

Meanwhile, he boasts triumphs at some of NASCAR’s most cherished venues and iconic races and includes wins at Bristol Motor Speedway (2), Charlotte Motor Speedway (2), Darlington Raceway (3) and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (2) as some of his most celebrated accomplishments.

“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, a Winston-Salem, N.C., native, has been paired with LaJoie since 2020. Combined, Sparks and LaJoie have earned three top-five and six top-10 finishes, including a pair of top fours in 2023 and a fourth-place finish in this year’s Daytona 500. Last season, the 40-year-old veteran crew chief led LaJoie to his first career top-25 points showing in NASCAR’s premier division.

He previously served as race engineer in multiple capacities at Richard Childress Racing (RCR). Sparks played key roles in RCR’s 2011 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series and 2013 NASCAR Xfinity Series championship-winning seasons. In addition to his championship pedigree, he celebrated a host of wins during his 13-year tenure at RCR, including victories in the 2017 Coca-Cola 600 and the 2018 Daytona 500.

“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.”

About Spire Motorsports …
Spire Motorsports is a NASCAR Cup Series and NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series race team co-owned by long-time NASCAR industry executives Jeff Dickerson and Thaddeus “T.J.” Puchyr. In 2024, Spire Motorsports campaigns the Nos. 7, 71 and 77 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s in the NASCAR Cup Series with drivers Corey LaJoie, Zane Smith and Carson Hocevar, respectively. The team also fields the Nos. 7, 71 and 77 Chevrolet Silverados full time in the NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series. An all-star driver lineup will rotate throughout the 2024 season in the No. 7 Chevy. Rajah Caruth drives the No. 71 entry and Chase Purdy rounds out the team’s fleet of Silverados in the No. 77.

Spire Motorsports earned its inaugural NASCAR Cup Series victory in its first full season of competition when Justin Haley took the checkered flag in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 7, 2019. Less than three years later, William Byron drove Spire Motorsports’ No. 7 Chevrolet Silverado to its inaugural NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series win on April 7, 2022, at Martinsville Speedway. The team’s most recent win came on April 12, 2024, when Kyle Busch took the checkered flag in the SpeedyCash.com 250 at Texas Motor Speedway.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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