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CONCORD, N.C. – As the race teams prepared to take on Texas Motor Speedway, No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus knew they were facing an uphill battle.

“We knew that it was going to be a challenge,” Knaus explained. “We didn't have any data from the racetrack. We didn't know how to set up our simulation.”

With a newly repaved track and changes to the layout including reducing the banking in the first two turns to 20 degrees and widening the groove in that section of the track to 80 feet, there was plenty up in the air as the race weekend approached.

So, the teams put their heads together and got to work.

“We had to do a lot of it kind of old school,” Knaus said. “It's pretty cool, right? I enjoyed it for sure. Some of my engineers didn't enjoy it a heck of a lot because they're numbers guys. They want to know exactly what's going on and how to tune the car. It's challenging for everybody, but honestly, it was a lot of fun for us this weekend.”

Knaus said that he loves going to new racetracks because it makes it an even challenge for everyone in the field.

Leading up to the trip to Texas, the Nos. 48 and 88 teams worked together as they began to tackle the challenge.

“It took an awful lot to get exactly what we wanted underneath the race car,” Knaus said. “(No. 88 team crew chief) Greg Ives and I and everybody in the 48 and 88 shop, we really dug in pretty deep this week to bring race cars out here where we thought we needed to do when we maybe didn't have the performance that we'd needed the last couple of weeks.”

And it paid off, as Johnson found Victory Lane for his first win of the season and Dale Earnhardt Jr. captured his first top-five result and best finish of the year.

“It was a total team effort,” Knaus said.