CONCORD, N.C. -- Chad Knaus is ready to take on the doubleheader at Pocono Raceway.
Saturday and Sunday each will have a Cup Series race at "The Tricky Triangle" to accommodate the revamped NASCAR schedule. William Byron's crew chief said there will be a lot of strategy needed in having two races in 24 hours but he's looking forward to tackling the track.
“Pocono is a tough racetrack, so there are some suspension components we need make sure we look at really closely. … There’s a lot of concerns but I think we are excited about it," Knaus said on SiriusXM. "I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Pocono is one of my favorite racetracks, so if you get up and hit it on Day 1 you could be set for Day 2, as well.”
Aside from having the difficult turns presented with a triangular track, the drivers, crew chiefs and pit crews will have little time to rest as they turn around from Saturday's race to compete on Sunday. During any other Cup Series season, many might have protested the toll that could take on the teams. However, Knaus said he's been impressed with how the industry has adapted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Much like how drivers got used to running Wednesday night races along with Sunday races, he expects everyone will roll with the punches for the doubleheader.
“We identify with what it is we do and don’t need, and you can trim some fat, you can start to make things more efficient, make things safer," he said. "There’s a billion things going on in the face of crisis that seem to advance humanity and advance everything in the world. We’re no different than anyone else. We’re just a small entity that’s adapting and growing through all of this."
One of those instances of growth is getting used to having races without any qualifying sessions nor practice. In order to limit the contact between personnel and the teams, NASCAR has opted to eliminate those aspects to keep everyone involved at the tracks safer.
Knaus said since the return to racing has been so smooth without qualifying and practice, the industry could change how those aspects are run in the future.
"I honestly feel that the racing has been as good or better without practice than what we’ve seen in the past," he said. "The efficiency at the racetrack is as good or better than it has been in the past, so there’s a lot to be gained from this from an industry standpoint.
“It’s been a really, really unique learning curve. I’m very thankful that haven’t had a lot of people who have been getting sick through all of this, and hopefully we can keep it that way as an industry.”
The lack of qualifying and practices also have an impact on the cars. Knaus said most of the teams plan on running the same car for both races, which normally would be very difficult.
“I feel that with the pandemic and the way we are handling things now, it actually has opened our eyes up to doing things a little bit differently," he said. "Now, with the lack of practice and qualifying, there’s less mileage. (Going) to race No. 2 from race No. 1 isn’t as extensive as what you would have done under normal circumstances.”
This weekend's double header will kick of Saturday, June 27 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX and continue on Sunday, June 28 at 4 p.m. ET of FOX Sports 1.