CONCORD, N.C. – Through nine races in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series season, Hendrick Motorsports has racked up three wins, 11 top-five finishes, 21 top-10s, and led a total of 601 laps – all of which Chad Knaus, vice president of competition, credits to the communication between the four teams.
“I think that we are working really hard to get these guys’ inter-team development, inter-team communication at a higher level, and they have done a really good job,” Knaus said on SiriusXM radio on Tuesday. “At Hendrick Motorsports, we pride ourselves on being able to keep the ball at a very high level and it’s not easy, but we’re always looking to advance and always looking to try and improve things.”
Knaus understands how important communication is but tries to avoid overloading the crew chiefs with information.
“We try to get that organic communication between the crew chiefs,” Knaus said. “We do have our structure and our required meetings where we sit together and we discuss what happened, what’s going on and what we are trying to do from the weekend along with our drivers.
“Then what we do is try to break them out into some smaller meetings where it’s just the crew chiefs or just the areas that we need to make improvements in.”
One of the changes made in the off-season was the addition of crew chief Rudy Fugle to the No. 24 team after Knaus was promoted to his current role. Fugle was the crew chief for Byron in 2016 for his record-breaking rookie year in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series where the duo collected seven wins and led 727 of the 3,439 laps they completed that season.
“You look at the situation where we brought in Rudy,” Knaus said. “We’ve got his relationship with the crew chiefs that have been here previously, (and it) is growing and getting stronger. I think the openness to bring Rudy in, his ability to contribute to the group, his willingness to bring him in and show him the ropes has opened up our communication just naturally, which has been a great asset.”
Byron, driver of the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, has put together a string of seven consecutive races finishing inside the top 10. Byron’s top-10 streak is not only the longest active in the Cup Series, but the longest by a Hendrick Motorsports driver since Jeff Gordon in his final seven races of 2015.
“That team has really grown and accepted (Rudy), and it’s helping him get them to victory lane,”Knaus said. “It’s just been great.”
Be sure to tune in Sunday, April 25 at 2 p.m. ET on FOX to see Hendrick Motorsports chase another win as the teams take on Talladega Superspeedway.