CONCORD, N.C. -- As the Hendrick Motorsports teams prepares for this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway, vice president of competition Chad Knaus joined “The Morning Drive” on SiriusXM Radio Wednesday and relived the days of when he was a crew chief calling a race at the track.
“Martinsville would definitely be at the top of my list because it’s obviously a really, really neat race, especially if there are opportunities to call strategy, which there quite often is,” Knaus said.
Hendrick Motorsports has claimed 25 wins at the .526-mile track in Virginia, including Rick Hendrick’s first win with Geoff Bodine driving the flagship No. 5 in 1984. Fast forward to last season, Chase Elliott won at the venue, punching his ticket to the NASCAR Cup Series Championship 4 where he captured his first championship.
“There have been a lot of cool things that happened at Martinsville,” Knaus said. “Obviously, Mr. H got his first win there, championship battles have started there, there’s been a lot of one-two finishes for Hendrick cars and there’s been some heartache there, as well. It’s a very emotional racetrack every time you roll off that highway and dip down the hill and go into that valley where that racetrack is for me. It’s something we are definitely looking forward to getting there and get racing.”
Knaus collected nine wins at “The Paperclip,” all with seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel. Winning at Martinsville comes with a timeless trophy, a grandfather clock.
“When I got my first grandfather clock, when I was living up on the lake in Cornelius (North Carolina) years and years and years ago, that was part of my Thursday routine,” Knaus explained. “Every Thursday before I left to go hop on the airplane to fly to whatever venue we were going to, I would wind the clock and that was my ‘Alright, hey man, getting ready to go racing.’ I would wind the clock, go hop on the airplane and go to the track.”
This weekend, Knaus is ready for the Hendrick Motorsports drivers to get back to racing after a week off and take on the paperclip-shaped track in Virginia.
“We pride ourselves at (Hendrick Motorsports) with having cars that are capable of going there and running competitively, and I don’t see that changing this weekend,” Knaus said. “I think we’ve got the drivers and the teams that can go down there and make some more things happen for this company this weekend.”
Be sure to tune in this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1 to see the Hendrick Motorsports teams take on Martinsville Speedway under the lights.