Knaus named Wypall crew chief of Martinsville race
Chad Knaus, crew chief for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet driven by Jimmie Johnson, has been named the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Race in Sunday's Goody's Fast Relief 500 at Martinsville Speedway.
After starting ninth because qualifying was rained out, Johnson began fighting a tight race car early in the race. With three cautions in the first 70 laps, Johnson was the only driver on the lead lap to pit twice, losing vital track position and falling as low as 25th place by lap 100.
"We went ahead and took the opportunity to pit and try to make the car a little bit better because we knew if we didn't take the opportunity then, we wouldn't have enough time to get back up through the field," Knaus said.
Knaus' patience and his crew's pit stops paid off as Johnson moved up the leader board and moved past leader Denny Hamlin with 70 laps to go. Hamlin slipped by Johnson 26 laps later, but with 15 laps to go, Johnson made the final pass of the day for the lead.
"We didn't have an easy day today," said Johnson. "We had to stay together as a team, work through a lot of changes, a loss of track position to make the car better and fight for the front, count on pit stops, count on good driving. It took a team effort today. I'm very proud of that."
Roush Fenway Racing's Bob Osborne (crew chief for Carl Edwards), Richard Childress Racing's Todd Berrier (Kevin Harvick) and Fox/Speed analyst Jeff Hammond, along with representatives from Wypall, serve as the panel for the award. The award doesn't necessarily go to the race winning crew chief, but to the crew chief that does the best job improving his driver's day, according to a vote of panelists.
In addition to a $1,000 check, the winning crew chief receives a sign to announce the win on his pit box during the next race. The crew chief with the most weekly wins will be honored as the Wypall Wipers Crew Chief of the Year and presented a $20,000 check at the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.