CONCORD, N.C. -- Select members from Hendrick Motorsports will take on a new challenge during the Twelve Hours of Sebring this weekend to support Jimmie Johnson in his chase for the IMSA Endurance Cup.
Hendrick Motorsports vice president of competition Chad Knaus picked five crew members to assist Johnson and his teammates on the No. 48 Ally Cadillac DPi-V.R. Scott Honan, Cody French, Mike Hubert, Mike McAndrews and Jamie Frady all will be on hand for Saturday’s event at Sebring International Raceway.
Honan is the only carry-over member from the Rolex 24 at DAYTONA. He’s become the go-to member of the crew due to his expertise and love of endurance racing. Honan joined Knaus in making sure the members they selected to go to the Sebring, Florida, track were willing to adapt to an endurance mindset.
“Chad came to me and asked me if I wanted to do it,” said Honan, the team’s tire carrier. “Of course, I was more than excited to do it. I had a really good 24 hours and enjoyed it. I looked forward to doing more, and I told him that when we left Daytona if the opportunity arises, I’d like to do it again.”
Johnson, along with drivers Simon Pagenaud and Kamui Kobiyashi, already participated in the Rolex 24 in January where they notched a second-place finish. Hendrick Motorsports teammates were on hand during that event, as well. With only a few short weeks of practice for the long endurance race, Knaus selected members who he felt would be smart and collected during the 12-hour event.
“They are a bunch of hard-working guys,” Honan said. “Chad and I both worked together to hand-pick these guys, and we hand-picked them for a reason. A lot of them are former pit crew guys. We got one new pit crew guy who we want to advance pretty quickly. They’ve put in a good amount of effort and are really committed to the program.”
The rest of the crew are members who are looking forward to a new challenge or a way to move up the motor sports ranks or for another opportunity to work with the legendary seven-time Cup Series champion. Mike McAndrews, the crew’s post-race engineer, wants to use his experience as an integral step in becoming a crew chief some day.
“I’m going to be watching data to see how our fuel consumption is because there’s going to be a lot of pit stops,” McAndrews said. “There’s probably going to be some weather thrown at us, so I’ll be making sure we have an adequate amount of fuel before we make it to the next caution.
“Bigger picture-wise, this is good experience for me and for the Hendrick Motorsports side heading into the Next Gen car next year.”
French, an incoming developmental tire changer at Hendrick Motorsports, said he’s constantly being told by his teammates to slow down and to enjoy the exciting opportunity.
“It’s kind of mind blowing, you know?” French said. “Telling people, ‘Hey, I’ll be changing tires for Jimmie Johnson and some of these top racers.’ It’s something I’m still wrapping my head around.”
Frady, who has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 2002, said working with Johnson again is a dream come true and what fueled him to take on a 12-hour endurance race.
“He’s the best,” Frady said of Johnson. “He’s the GOAT.”
The Twelve Hours of Sebring will begin Saturday, March 20 at 10:30 a.m. ET and be broadcast on both NBCSN and NBC in varying time slots.