CONCORD, N.C. – Saturday afternoon, No. 48 team crew chief Chad Knaus shared that he has signed a two-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports.
Last season, Jimmie Johnson signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him behind the wheel of the No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 through the 2020 campaign. Now, Knaus’ contract puts him on the same schedule as his driver.
“That’s nice to be in that same space as him,” the crew chief said. “Obviously this shows that we’ve got stability between Jimmie and I moving forward.”
In their 17th season together, Knaus and Johnson are the most tenured crew chief-driver duo in the NASCAR Cup Series garage.
With nearly 600 starts under their belts – and seven championships together – the two have developed a close relationship that Knaus said he’s excited to continue.
“I think Jimmie and I, we’ve gotten to the point where we really understand one other,” he said. “There’s not a big question on the amount of effort that’s going in from one side or the other. We deeply care for one another, obviously. With families, daughters – I have a son coming – we’ve grown a lot together through life.”
Through 18 races this season, the No. 48 team has collected two top-five finishes, six top-10s and 12 laps led. It comes on the heels of a 2017 season that saw Johnson win three races – but the team has not visited Victory Lane since last June at Dover International Speedway.
“I’m a very competitive person – if we go three weeks without winning, I’m frustrated,” Knaus said. “The winless streak right now, yeah, although it’s not where we want to be by any stretch of the imagination, it’s where we are. It’s our reality right now and we’ve got to fight through it.”
And he has no doubt that the No. 48 team – and Hendrick Motorsports as a whole – will do just that. The crew chief noted that the primary focus is working to get the cars qualifying and racing “a little bit better.”
The group will take it a week at a time, but particularly after signing his new contract extension, Knaus has his sights set on a record-breaking goal.
“I think I’d be foolish and lying to not admit to the fact that to get eight championships and to put Jimmie on a pedestal by himself at the top of the standings with championships is a huge desire of mine,” Knaus said, “and something I definitely want to try to achieve.”