NASCAR champion crew chief Chad Knaus leaving pit box for new role at Hendrick in 2021

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NASCAR championship winning crew chief Chad Knaus will be calling the shots from a new leadership role at Hendrick Motorsports after this season.

The team announced Tuesday that Knaus will take over as its vice president of competition, assuming the role of Jeff Andrews, who has been promoted to executive vice president and general manager at the organization.

Knaus is the crew chief for the No. 24 Chevrolet Cup team and driver William Byron, who earned his second postseason berth this year with Knaus atop the pit box. Knaus, 49, has won seven Cup Series championships, all with No. 48 driver Jimmie Johnson, who is set to retire from full-time NASCAR racing after the season.

A statement from HMS said that in the new role, Knaus will oversee the technical development of the team’s Chevrolet race cars, including the implementation of NASCAR’s Next Gen model in 2022, and he will be responsible for all racing personnel dedicated to the organization’s four Cup entries while reporting to Andrews.

“I appreciate the company supporting my decision, and I’m truly excited about the challenge ahead of me to help us grow and win,” a statement from Knaus said. “I’m also looking forward to working closely with Jeff, who I admire and have great respect for. I owe so much to Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, and I’m ready for the next chapter.”

Knaus has won 82 races in the 702 Cup Series events he’s called, beginning in 2000 with drivers Casey Atwood and Stacy Compton. He cemented his legacy in the sport working alongside Johnson with the No. 48 team for 17 years, and he leads in all-time NASCAR playoff race wins with 29, almost three times more than any other crew chief.

Johnson will transition to IndyCar racing with Chip Ganassi in 2021, while Knaus will remain with Team Hendrick.

“We’ve shared so many great experiences throughout our career in motorsports,” said Johnson, 45, in a congratulatory video message to Knaus on Twitter. “I know what you mean to me and to my family, and I’m so happy for you and your family on this next chapter in your career.”

Family seemed to be a motivating factor for the change. Knaus welcomed his second child, a baby girl named Vivienne Mae Knaus, with wife Brooke in July. The couple also has a toddler son named Kipling.

“After all these years, my competitive desire has not changed at all, but now I have a family that deserves my attention,” Knaus’ statement said. “This new executive role will allow me to compete in a different way with all four of our teams while spending more time with my wife and two young children.”

Hendrick Motorsports said it will announce a new crew chief for Byron and the No. 24 team at a later date.


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