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Rodney Childers' departure—Will Tony Stewart's rookie driver sink or swim without him?

Stewart Haas Racing driver Josh Berry has secured his seat in the NASCAR Cup Series, joining the iconic Wood Brothers Racing team. The 33-year-old will take over the No. 21 ride with a multi-year deal signed with NASCAR’s oldest team. With Chase Briscoe opting to make a switch to Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota, WBR saw Berry as the perfect fit to take their project forward.

The driver was speculated to join the other Ford team, Front Row Motorsport, who themselves have two vacant seats, but Josh Berry was roped in by Jon Wood and WBR. While this news is a huge relief to the rookie driver who had shown promise in taking over the iconic No. 4 SHR from Kevin Harvick, it looks like he’ll be moving on without the support of his crew chief, Rodney Childers.

The rumor mills and speculative reports suggested that the entire #4 could be moving on with Berry if he were to find a new seat. But, Rodney’s message to the driver all but confirms that he won’t be joining WBR with his driver. “I can’t even explain how happy I am for @joshberry .. He has worked his b*tt off for a long time to get this opportunity. This 4 team takes great gratitude in being a part of showing the world what he can do. He’s a winner and has a huge future👊🏼,” Rodney shared via X.

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Poll of the day

What do you think led to the breakup between Tony Stewart's rookie and legendary crew chief?

Clashing personalities

Strategic differences

Performance issues

Team politics

But, now the question remains: what becomes of the legendary crew chief, and where will he find himself next season? Well, the NASCAR community soon chimed in with their suggestions. Some wanted him to move to WBR with Berry, while others had some interesting suggestions for him to consider.

If not Wood Brothers Racing, where will Rodney Childers land for the 2025 season?

Now it would have been great to see Rodney move along with Josh Berry to WBR. Although most of the fans know that such a move isn’t possible, they still want him to try to push for that move and continue building on the synergy they’ve formed this season. “Really hope you get the opportunity to stay as his Crew Chief.”

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This split with Berry is surely not the end of his stint as a crew chief. Remember, there are teams with vacant seats. FRM and the Haas Factory Team are clear choices. Moreover, there are still two SHR charters up for grabs, which will open doors for many such options. Wishing him the best, a fan wrote, “You are so part of NASCAR @RodneyChilders4 I hope your plans for next year are what works best for you!”

23XI Racing is one of the teams linked to buying a third charter for their team. Not only that but given how the #23 team and Bubba Wallace have struggled this season, they could be making changes to their team. At least, this is what this fan was trying to speculate, “We need you on the 23-pit box next year. Please and thank you @dennyhamlin.” Talk about trying to draw imaginary outcomes from this scenario!

The speculations just did not stop with Rodeny being linked to 23XI. Even Hendrick Motorsports fans started to fit the pieces of an imaginary puzzle, stating that he could replace Blake Harris on the #48 team, “Rodney are you excited to be Alex Bowman’s crew chief next year?”

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One fan, making fun of this silly season drama, laid out a theory that Rodney might reunite with Kevin Harvick and help him in his pursuit of late-model stock car racing. “@KevinHarvick is going to need a crew chief for the late model program, and I bet you would fill that position perfectly 😉.”

Meanwhile, Harrison Burton, who is now ousted from his seat, is also on a hunt for a new team. With this announcement, two of the four SHR drivers have secured their rides for the next year, but Noah Gragson and Ryan Preece are yet to confirm their future in the Cup Series.