Chad Knaus

Home / Uncategorized / Chad Knaus

Chad Knaus

[ad_1] Background

Born in Illinois, Chad Knaus grew up around the racetracks of the Midwest helping his father race against the likes of Mark Martin, Alan Kulwicki, Rusty Wallace and Dick Trickle. By the time he was 14, Knaus served as crew chief during his father John’s Rockford Speedway championship season. The father-son combination also won the Great Northern Series championship and finished second in the NASCAR Winston Racing Series. A few years and seven track championships later, Knaus moved to North Carolina in 1991 to pursue a job in national stock car racing.

After working with Stanley Smith’s stock car team, Knaus landed a job working on the #24 Hendrick Motorsports team led by crew chief Ray Evernham and raced by driver Jeff Gordon. From 1993 to 1997, Knaus advanced from a general fabricator to manage the entire chassis and body construction program for the #24 team. Serving as a tire changer on the original Rainbow Warriors pit crew, Knaus was an integral part of the 1995 and 1997 NASCAR Winston Cup Championship teams.

Following the 1997 season, Knaus joined Dale Earnhardt, Inc. as car chief, where he worked with Steve Park and later Darrell Waltrip. During the 1998 season, he moved to Tyler Jet Motorsports, and in 1999, the call came that would lead Knaus to Dodge, Melling Racing, and his ultimate career goal. Ray Evernham wanted Knaus to lead the Dodge Development team, an opportunity he quickly seized.

During two Dodge test sessions, Knaus worked with Melling Racing driver Stacy Compton. The two worked well together, resulting in Knaus’ hire as crew chief for Compton in 2001.

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series

2001 Season

In 2001, Knaus was crew chief for Mark Melling’s operation, which was sponsored by Pinkerton Tobacco, with Compton as driver.

2002 Season

In 2002, Knaus was offered the position of crew chief for a rookie driver in the Hendrick Motorsports stable, Jimmie Johnson. Knaus led the rookie team to unprecedented success in 2002, earning 3 wins, 6 top 5s, 21 top 10s, and 4 Bud Pole Awards. Johnson became the first rookie in Cup Series history to ever lead the point standings (he eventually finished fifth overall). He also finished second in Rookie of the Year honors to Ryan Newman. As a result of these efforts, Knaus took home the inaugural IRWIN “Crew Chief of the Year” award. During the 2002 season at Dover, Knaus was fined for swearing on national television during an interview. He stated after Johnson’s victory, “Who says we’re too young to win a championship? We’re (expletive) going for it!”

2003 Season

For the 2003 campaign, the #48 team had 3 victories, 14 top 5s, and 20 top 10s. Johnson finished the season second in the points standings to Matt Kenseth.

2004 Season

Knaus working on the #48 car in 2004

In 2004, the season began slowly, with some early disappointments in weeks two and three at Rockingham and Las Vegas. However, the team quickly rebounded with a week five win at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. Subsequent victories at the Coca-Cola 600 and the Pocono 500 helped solidify their place in the NASCAR Chase for the Cup towards the end of the season. However, poor finishes at Talladega (37th) and Kansas (32nd) nearly stopped their chances to win the Nextel Cup, but three consecutive wins, and four in the final six races, put the #48 team 18 points behind leader Kurt Busch going into the final race. The second victory at the Subway 500 in Martinsville on October 24, 2004, was marred by tragedy when Rick Hendrick’s son, Ricky Hendrick, nieces and brother were killed in an airplane crash en route to the race. All eight passengers and both pilots died in the incident. The team eventually finished second in the Nextel Cup Series points, losing to Kurt Busch by just 8 points.

2005 Season

Knaus and Johnson took a step back in 2005, finishing the season ranked fifth in the standings after a crash in the season ending race at Homestead.

2006 Season

In 2006, Johnson and Knaus won their first Nextel Cup Series championship with 5 wins, 13 top 5s, and 24 top 10s.

2007 Season

2007 was the best season yet for Knaus and Johnson. The tandem took home their second straight championship with a series best 10 wins. Hendrick Motorsports was the dominant team in 2007, amassing 18 wins in 36 races, or exactly half. Knaus and Johnson led the Hendrick charge that saw the championship battle come down to a race between themselves and teammate Jeff Gordon.

Career NASCAR Sprint Cup Statistics

Year

Driver

Races

Wins

Poles

Top 5

Top 10

DNFs

Season Rank

2001

Stacy Compton

34

0

2

0

1

7

33rd

2002

Jimmie Johnson

36

3

4

6

21

3

5th

2003

Jimmie Johnson

36

3

2

14

20

3

2nd

2004

Jimmie Johnson

36

8

1

20

23

7

2nd

2005

Jimmie Johnson

36

4

1

13

22

5

5th

2006

Jimmie Johnson

36

5*

1

13

24

1

1st

2007

Jimmie Johnson

36

10

4

20

24

4

1st

2008

Jimmie Johnson

36

7

10

16

22

1st

2009

Jimmie Johnson

35

7

3

14

21

1

1st

Totals

264

47*

16

90

141

31

2 Race wins (Daytona 500 & Las Vegas) he was suspended at the time.

Criticism

In early 2006, Knaus was accused of cheating after Jimmie Johnson’s Daytona 500 qualifying run. Knaus made an illegal adjustment to the rear window, which resulted in his suspension from Sprint Cup events until March 22. Despite the loss of his crew chief, Johnson won the Daytona 500, and two of the first three races overall, with interim crew chief, Darian Grubb.

Knaus again found himself at the center of controversy during the road race debut of NASCAR’s Car of Tomorrow. On June 23, 2007 the #24 crew (chiefed by Steve Letarte) and the #48 crew entered the inspection line for the Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Infineon Raceway with the newest body style out of the Hendrick shop. While both cars fit the templates, NASCAR officials questioned the shape of the fenders in between the template points. Johnson was not allowed to qualify the car, and he started at the back of the field. Knaus was fined $100,000 and was suspended for six races.

#48 Pit Crew

The following are the #48 “over the wall” crew:

Chris Anderson (Jack Man)

David Bryant (Windshield/Driver Support)

Mike Knauer (Catch Can)

Jermey West (Rear Tire Changer)

Ron Malec (Rear Tire Carrier/Car Chief)

Shane Parsnow (Front Tire Changer)

Jim Pollard (Gas Man)

Arthur Simmons (Front Tire Carrier)

Outside activities

Knaus is a regular commentator on NASCAR Performance, a program that broadcasts from each track every week. Each program provides a crew chief perspective on the hot topics in NASCAR, as well as a preview of the weekend’s race. Knaus is joined by Bootie Barker of Michael Waltrip Racing, a weekly special guest, and the program is anchored by Fox broadcaster Larry McReynolds.

Knaus has also appeared in television commercials for Kobalt Tools by Lowe’s, the primary sponsor of Jimmie Johnson’s #48 car, asking Johnson, “What are you doing?”, after montages of Johnson performing an assortment of repair projects with Kobalt Tools, and precedes Johnson’s reply of, “Welding, Chad.” (for the first commercial) and “Pipefitting, Guys.” (for the second, after both Knaus and a Public Works worker ask the same question).

He voices the crew chief in NASCAR 08 and NASCAR 09 on the XBox 360 and PlayStation 3.

References

^ “Rockford Speedway is a “NASCAR home track”; Kevin Ramsell; March 6, 2007; Retrieved October 22, 2007

^ “Gordon, Johnson fail initial qual inspection at Sonoma”, June 22, 2007, David Caraviello, Retrieved September 7 2007

External links

The Official Chad Knaus Website

Team Lowe’s Racing

Hendrick Motorsports

NASCAR

NASCAR Performance

Cheesin’ Chadwick (Fan Site)

v  d  e

Hendrick Motorsports

Sprint Cup drivers

Mark Martin (#5) | Jeff Gordon (#24) | Jimmie Johnson (#48) | Dale Earnhardt, Jr. (#88)

Primary Sponsors

Go Daddy (#5) | Dupont (#24) | Lowe’s #48) | AMP Energy/National Guard (#88)

Sprint Cup crew chiefs

Alan Gustafson (#5) | Steve Letarte (#24) | Chad Knaus (#48) | Lance McGrew (#88)

Partnerships and affiliations

Furniture Row Racing | JR Motorsports | Stewart Haas Racing | Phoenix Racing

Management/Related Info

Rick Hendrick | Ricky Hendrick | Ray Evernham | Brian Whitesell | Hendrick Automotive Group

Past Winning drivers

Geoff Bodine | Ken Schrader | Tim Richmond | Darrell Waltrip | Terry Labonte | Ricky Rudd | Kyle Busch | Jack Sprague

Categories: 1971 births | Living people | NASCAR crew chiefs | People from Rockford, Illinois
[ad_2]

Source by xxyxy

Photo by ScrapNancy

Recent Posts
Contact Us

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search

ef31b20b2ff61c3e81584d04ee44408be273e4d61fb9174691f3_640_speedwayec3db20f2af31c3e81584d04ee44408be273e4d61fb9174795f2_640_NASCAR