Crew chief Knaus moving up in Hendrick Motorsports world

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Associated Press

CHARLOTTE — Chad Knaus will move into a management role with Hendrick Motorsports after the season, ending his crew chief career after a record-tying seven
NASCAR championships.

Hendrick on Tuesday announced Knaus will become vice president of competition. He will replace Jeff Andrews, who has been in the role since 2017 but was elevated to executive vice president and general manager.

Knaus will oversee the technical development of Hendrick’s entire Chevrolet stable of race cars and lead the implementation of the “Next Gen” car set to debut in 2022. Knaus will also oversee all crew chiefs, pit crews, engineering, fabrication, assembly and other team-related staff.

He guided Jimmie Johnson to seven Cup Series championships and won 82 races, most recently the August regular-season finale at Daytona with William Byron.

Knaus built the No. 48 team around Johnson in 2002 and the duo was paired through the 2018 season. They won a record five consecutive titles from 2006 to 2010, and only Hall of Fame crew chiefs Dale Inman and Leonard Wood have more race victories than Knaus.

“In life, it’s rare to witness true excellence first-hand, but that’s precisely what we’ve been treated to with Chad,” team owner Rick Hendrick said.

Hendrick split Knaus and Johnson at the end of 2018 and Knaus has spent the last two years as crew chief for Byron and the No. 24 team, which is where Knaus began his career under Ray Evernham in 1993.

Knaus has taken a driver to the playoffs 17 times and is the all-time leader playoff race wins with 29. Earlier this month, Knaus called his 700th career Cup-level race.

“Starting at a young age, I wanted to win every race we entered and battle for every championship. Mr. Hendrick has given me the chance to do exactly that, and I could not be more thankful to him,” Knaus said.

A father of two young children, the 49-year-old Knaus said the move will grant him family time for the first time in his life. Johnson is retiring from full-time competition at the end of the season.

“After all these years, my competitive desire has not changed at all, but now I have a family that deserves my attention,” Knaus said. “I appreciate the company supporting my decision, and I’m truly excited about the challenge ahead of me to help us grow and win.”

Knaus will report to Andrews, who has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 1992. He previously held a variety of leadership positions in the team’s engine department, including director of engine operations.

Andrews will now oversee all competition-related departments, including powertrain, manufacturing and racing operations. He is Hendrick’s primary liaison with NASCAR’s competition group. Andrews and Knaus have more than 50 years of combined experience with Hendrick Motorsports.