Knaus wins Crew Chief of the Race Award Through the mayhem of rain delays, a race shortened from 267 to 210 laps and wrecking cars, Chad Knaus, crew chief for the No. 48 Lowe’s Chevrolet team, avoided all prevailing problems to snare a top-five finish in the LifeLock 400 at Kansas Speedway. For Knaus and driver, Jimmie Johnson, the day would begin with adversity, having to start the race from the rear of the field in a backup car. However, the duo did not allow Mother Nature, their back of the pack start nor the multiple pile ups occurring around them to dampen their day. For his calm under the storm and race day come from behind finish, Knaus was awarded the WYPALL* Wipers Crew Chief of the Race.
After a practice session mishap on Saturday that had Johnson hitting the wall with the No. 48 Chevrolet, Knaus and his Hendrick Motorsports crew went to work on their backup car. Within 15 minutes, Knaus had Johnson back on the track setting cause for the race as the wrecked primary car was rolled onto the hauler. Knaus and Johnson had already shown they would be tough to handle this weekend, having won the pole for the 400 mile race. Throughout the day, Knaus called for steady changes to the car’s setup, in an effort to give Johnson every opportunity to climb to the front. After a lengthy mid-race rain delay parked the racecars for more than an hour, one of two red flags for the race, Johnson proved the team was definite championship contenders, racing his way to a third place finish and the top of the Nextel Cup standings.
At the conclusion of the race Knaus gave credit to his team and driver for staying focused during the race. “We really didn’t have a play by play strategy at the start of the race,” admitted Knaus. “The team gave us great pit stops and Jimmie [Johnson] really drove a great race. The car was very fast all day. We managed to stay out of trouble and it may have been a different story if the light had not stopped the race.”
A panel of judges including a member of the local media, Robbie Reiser, Kenny Francis and a WYPALL* Wipers spokesmen, all agreed Knaus’ effort stood out. “Those guys rolled out a backup car that looked as fast, if not faster, than their primary,” commented Francis on the No. 48 team’s effort. “Chad had something going on all weekend. Great job to come from the back the way they did.
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