CONCORD, N.C. -- It's not often during the NASCAR Cup Series season that teams get a weekend off but an exception is always made for the Easter holiday.
Every year, NASCAR halts racing on Easter weekend so drivers, crews and everyone in between can have a leisurely weekend to spend with family and loved ones before the busy racing season picks up again. At Hendrick Motorsports, Good Friday is a company holiday, allowing teammates to take advantage of a long weekend without traveling for the sport.
Vice president of competition Chad Knaus is spending quality time with his family for their first Easter weekend as a unit of four since his daughter was born last July.
"It is Vivienne's first Easter, so we'll probably hang out with her a little bit and do an Easter egg hunt with Kipling, going to color some eggs," he said, then jokingly added: "I might or might not wear a bunny costume that's been provided by Hendrick Motorsports.
"We've talked about going out on a boat ride; we've got a lot of fun things we're going to do."
Like Knaus, No. 48 backup hauler driver Scott Denton will be taking time this weekend to slow down and enjoy precious time with his family; a rarity in the NASCAR world.
"Hanging out with the family, mostly with my son, and just enjoying Easter," he said. "On Sunday, we'll just attend church."
Some teammates will be participating in weekend activities that would otherwise be impossible during a traveling race weekend. No. 5 tire specialist Cesar Villanueva will be participating in a unique kickball tournament on Saturday since most of his family lives in New Jersey.
"It's called a cup-in-hand kickball tournament," he explained. "You got to play with a cup of liquid in your hand. You have to pitch with it, kick with it, catch with it. You always have to have some form of liquid in your cup at all times. Otherwise, you're out."
However, some teammates are still putting in the hard work for future endeavors with NASCAR. Members from No. 5 team was on hand late this week at Martinsville Speedway checking out some special prototype tires.
"To be honest, not much of an off week for us," No. 5 crew chief Cliff Daniels said. "We're testing Martinsville for a wet tire test. That's going to be very exciting. It's going to be fun to take our Hendrick Chevys there (and) make some laps in the wet."
No. 5 car chief Jesse Saunders also will be on hand at Martinsville to see how the short track wet tires work at the .533-mile venue.
"Testing, testing, testing," he said. "It's hard racing there when it's normal but then you throw in rain and dirt, it makes it worse. I'll get some rest, though."
No. 48 crew chief Greg Ives also will mix a little work with family down time for the long holiday weekend. As the proud dad to three young kids, he's excited to hang out on Sunday with his family.
"Thursday and Friday I'm going to Hickory Motor Speedway (in Hickory, North Carolina) to practice super late model for the Easter Bunny," he said. "Saturday I'm not going to go to the race; I'm just going to have an Easter egg hunt and barbeque at the house and maybe get in the pool if it's nice enough."
The Hendrick Motorsports teammates will take a well-deserved weekend off before they return to racing next week and prepare for Martinsville Speedway. The first Saturday night race of the year will be April 10 at 7:30 p.m. ET on FOX.