Mr. Intensity: Workaholic Knaus an inspiration to many in garage
Our Jeff Hammond says that Chad Knaus, who guided Jimmie Johnson to a sixth Sprint Cup title, is already one of the sport's all-time greatest crew chiefs -- and he's not done yet.
Crew chief Chad Knaus (pictured) has won six NASCAR championships with Jimmie Johnson.
Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images North America
By Jeff Hammond
Chad Knaus is the second winningest championship crew chief in NASCAR's illustrious history. He trails only the NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Inman, who racked up an amazing eight championships as crew chief. One of Chad's many strengths is he's smart enough to stick with what works. I say that because the relationship he and Jimmie have is unique and special.
You simply don't find that kind of relationship every day. Darrell Waltrip and I had our moments in the Sun. Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham had it when they were at Hendrick together. Fortunately for everyone, well okay, maybe not their competitors, car owner Rick Hendrick was savvy enough to show Jimmie and Chad they were stronger together than apart. As DW likes to say, "Your two and my two make five."
Chad has taken that relationship and combined it with a very structured and -- I have to say almost obsessive -- work ethic that has produced unbelievable results. The cornerstone is Jimmie and Chad together. They both have a clear understanding of what the other one needs.
Only time and additional championships will tell us if Chad will rank as our sport's top crew chief of all time. You can never compare eras but Dale Inman is the recognized best of the best. That's why he is already in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. That's why I think the answer will always be subjective, because it's like comparing championship-winning drivers. They all came from different time periods and eras. During their eras, they were the best of the best. It's just simply hard with technology, rules, competition, etc. to, like I mentioned earlier, compare eras. They all accomplished amazing things and had phenomenal careers.
All that said, there is simply no argument that he is easily one of the top crew chiefs to have ever graced our sport. Today, every crew chief wants to emulate Chad. He is also an inspiration to a young crop of engineers and crew chiefs who have a goal to "be like Chad." He simply is one of NASCAR's all-time greats, and the scary things is, he's not done yet!