CONCORD, N.C. – Chad Knaus is no stranger to the NASCAR Cup Series playoffs.
With seven championships under his belt as Jimmie Johnson’s crew chief, he knows exactly what it takes to finish the season strong.
“I enjoy the playoffs because for whatever the reason may be, it always gives the No. 48 team an opportunity for resurgence,” Knaus told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “That’s kind of what we need right now – our summer run was not what we would like. I guess you could call it a typical summer for us.”
So far this season, Johnson has accumulated nine top-10s, three top-five finishes and three wins. This time last season, the team had 10 top-10s, seven top-five finishes and two wins – and went on to win its seventh NASCAR Cup Series championship.
Knaus attributes the “summer slump” to certain tracks not really fitting Johnson’s style of racing.
“The summer runs, the tracks that we go to are not the strong suit for Jimmie and I for whatever reason,” Knaus said. “As we get into the postseason, we really get into some racetracks that really fit Jimmie’s driving style.”
As the season begins to wind down, the No. 48 team is buckling down for the last nine races in pursuit of a record-breaking eighth championship. Knaus says the only way for the team to be successful is to have some fun and enjoy the atmosphere.
“We’re going to enjoy the opportunity to go out there and compete because that’s what we do,” Knaus explained. “We compete, we race, and we do it because we love it and it’s fun.”
He also stressed the significance of focusing on the upcoming races, not looking in the past.
“The beautiful part about having a regular season and a playoff season is that you can completely forget everything that happened in the regular season,” Knaus said. “You just need to focus forward. Your future is in front of you, not behind you.”
Watch Knaus, Johnson and the No. 48 team take on New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 24, at 2 p.m. ET on NBC Sports Network.