CORNELIUS, N.C. — No. 00 Aaron’s Outdoors Toyota crew chief Rodney Childers goes to the half-mile Martinsville Speedway this weekend for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 leading a team that has experience fighting when its back is against the wall. The No. 00 team was 30th in points last year after the first eight races before charging back into the top-15 by July. This year, the No. 00 team finds itself 27th in points after the first five races, but the team and driver David Reutimann know they will be in “Chase for the Championship” contention by summer.
RODNEY CHILDERS QUOTES
IN 2010, THE No. 00 WAS 30th IN POINTS LEAVING TEXAS, BUT MADE A RUN INTO THE TOP-15 BY CHICAGO IN JULY. HOW CONFIDENT OF A SIMILAR RUN ARE YOU AS WE ENTER THE HEART OF THE NASCAR SCHEDULE? “I told the same thing to Cal Wells yesterday. We were 30th in points leaving Texas, but I think it’s going to be harder to make up points this year because of the points system – that’s going to be the biggest thing. We’ve got some tracks coming up that I know we can run really good at, and there are some like Talladega that are a complete crap shoot. Talladega is one of those places that you can make up a bunch of points or lose a bunch of points really quickly. It’s just a deal where we’ve got to get some top-10s, top-fives and be consistent. Looking at the schedule now we have some tracks that should be good to us coming up. We had a really good car at Martinsville in the fall. Texas we’re really good at every time. Talladega we’ve been good at. Darlington, Dover and Charlotte are all strong racetracks for us. Right now I’m just hoping we can get through Talladega without any issues. That will be the one that makes a big difference I feel like.”
HOW BIG OF AN IMPACT HAS THE NEW QUALIFYING PROCEDURE HAD ON THE No. 00 TEAM? “I think Phoenix is where it hurt us the most. We didn’t put up a really fast lap in practice so we had to go out early to qualify and the racetrack picked up a ton. The rest of the places it hasn’t been that big of a deal. Fontana it was just as good for the guy that went out first as it was for the guy that went out last. Bristol is hard to say – a concrete track doesn’t change that much, but in Phoenix it was definitely a big difference.”
HOW DOES QUALIFYING AFFECT PRACTICE STRATEGY THIS YEAR? “Last year we saved our qualifying runs for the end of practice. This year you just have to do it when the racetrack is good. That is what Kurt Busch did at Phoenix – they went out in qualifying trim right off the bat when the track was fast and put up a lap that was good enough to be one of the last cars out to qualify. It’s just a deal where we’re going to have to pay attention to the weather, track conditions and who is on the track before us – all of that stuff is going to make a difference each week. We’ll just have to really play it by ear and change it up week to week depending on what we think is going to be best for that particular day.”