|Over-the-hill Jimmie Johnson too slow now for Chad Knaus|
Chad Knaus will serve as crew chief of the No. 24 Chevrolet for driver William Byron in 2019, a move that will end the longest current driver-crew chief pairing in the NASCAR garage with Knaus and Jimmie Johnson.
Hendrick Motorsports announced the news Wednesday as part of a reshuffling of crew chiefs for two of its four teams in the Monster Energy Series. Johnson will be paired with Kevin Meendering, currently a crew chief for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, on the No. 48 Chevrolet operation next year.
The Knaus-Johnson partnership produced a record-tying seven championships.
“Chad and Jimmie will go down as one of the greatest combinations in sports history," team owner Rick Hendrick said in a release provided by the organization. “They defied the odds by performing at a championship level for longer than anyone could’ve possibly imagined. What they’ve accomplished together has been absolutely remarkable and will be celebrated for generations. This has been an incredible, storybook run."
The move reunites Knaus with Hendrick’s No. 24 team, where he served as a key member of the “Rainbow Warriors" pit crew for driver Jeff Gordon. Knaus oversaw body development and was part of the over-the-wall personnel as a tire changer for two of Gordon’s four series titles.
“You can’t quantify how much Chad’s leadership and championship experience will benefit William, who is a special talent," Hendrick said. “The two of them are a great match, and I’m excited to see what they can do together. Chad has the Rainbow Warriors pedigree and truly appreciates the history of the No. 24. I’ve asked him to build another winner and given him the green light to put his stamp on the team and do it his way."