CONCORD, N.C. -- Jeff Andrews, Hendrick Motorsports’ newly named executive vice president and general manager, revealed he’s excited about what the future holds for the organization heading into 2021.
On Tuesday, Hendrick Motorsports announced Andrews’ former role of vice president of competition will be filled by veteran crew chief Chad Knaus, who has won seven NASCAR Cup Series titles for Hendrick Motorsports in nearly 20 seasons atop the pit box.
“For Chad and (me), we’ve worked well together throughout our entire careers here at Hendrick Motorsports,” Andrews said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Thursday. “Chad is sliding into a role that I’ve currently had for the last three years (as) the VP of competition. He’ll be overseeing our race teams, our pit crews, our technical departments. The ultimate responsibility (is) delivering the vehicle to the crew chiefs and the drivers.”
Knaus will finish out the 2020 season with driver William Byron and the No. 24 team before he transitions into his new role. Andrews said there is no set timeline for announcing a new crew chief for Byron, adding there are many aspects that go into putting someone in such an important leadership role.
“When you’re looking at replacing a Chad Knaus, that’s not an easy job, given his record and his leadership skills,” Andrews said. “We got to find the right person for William, we got to find the right person for the team, we got to have a fit factor within our group here (so that person) gels with (crew chiefs) Cliff (Daniels) and Greg (Ives) and Alan (Gustafson). A lot of things go into those decisions.”
Replacing Knaus wasn’t the only major news from Hendrick Motorsports this week. The organization and Richard Childress Racing announced Thursday that they will be collaborating on engine R&D and the establishment of a common Chevrolet engine specification. Andrews himself will spearhead the project for Hendrick Motorsports and work with Richie Gilmore on RCR’s side. Andrews said teaming up with RCR has been in the works for two years.
“I think when you step back and look at it, ultimately you have to get to a point where you have these resources and you have these people, you have to do what’s best for Chevrolet to continue to push their performance,” Andrews said. “We started two years ago in the aerodynamics side with our groups working very closely together. We are taking that template and applying to the engine side with the blessing of Mr. (Rick) Hendrick and Mr. (Richard) Childress.”
Andrews explained that the development of the engines will be a joint effort, but the production will be conducted separately in the teams’ individual shops. Andrews also said Chip Ganassi Racing still will receive engines from Hendrick Motorsports.
As for the end of the 2020 season, Andrews said it’s business as usual. Both Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman are in the running for a championship, which will be decided in Phoenix, and Andrews said Hendrick Motorsports is focused on one race at a time.
“You work all year for this, and man, we got to get it,” he said. “We’ve got to get to Phoenix, so we’re working hard. Our group is doing a great job. I’m so proud of everyone at this shop and at this company.”