Chad Knaus will move into a management role with Hendrick Motorsports after the season, ending his crew chief career after a record-tying seven NASCAR championships.

TALLADEGA, AL – APRIL 26: Chad Knaus, crew chief of the #24 Hertz Chevrolet, looks over the rear spoiler during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 26, 2019 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Hendrick on Tuesday announced Knaus will become vice president of competition. He will replace Jeff Andrews, who has been in the role since 2017 but was elevated to executive vice president and general manager.

Knaus will oversee the technical development of Hendrick’s entire Chevrolet stable of race cars and lead the implementation of the “Next Gen” car set to debut in 2022. Knaus will also oversee all crew chiefs, pit crews, engineering, fabrication, assembly, and other team-related staff.

He guided Jimmie Johnson to seven Cup Series championships and won 82 races, most recently the August regular-season finale at Daytona with William Byron.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 10: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane with his former crew chief Chad Knaus after the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Knaus built the No. 48 team around Johnson in 2002 and the duo was paired through the 2018 season. They won a record five consecutive titles from 2006 to 2010, and only Hall of Fame crew chiefs Dale Inman and Leonard Wood have more race victories than Knaus.

“In life, it’s rare to witness true excellence first-hand, but that’s precisely what we’ve been treated to with Chad,” team owner Rick Hendrick said.

Hendrick split Knaus and Johnson at the end of 2018 and Knaus has spent the last two years as crew chief for Byron and the No. 24 team, which is where Knaus began his career under Ray Evernham in 1993.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 10: William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, talks with crew chief Chad Knaus during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Knaus has taken a driver to the playoffs 17 times and is the all-time leader playoff race wins with 29. Earlier this month, Knaus called his 700th career Cup-level race.

“Starting at a young age, I wanted to win every race we entered and the battle for every championship. Mr. Hendrick has given me the chance to do exactly that, and I could not be more thankful to him,” Knaus said.

A father of two young children, the 49-year-old Knaus said the move will grant him family time for the first time in his life. Johnson is retiring from full-time competition at the end of the season.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 17: Crew Chief of William Byron, driver of the #24 Axalta Chevrolet, Chad Knaus holds his child during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, 2019 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“After all these years, my competitive desire has not changed at all, but now I have a family that deserves my attention,” Knaus said. “I appreciate the company supporting my decision, and I’m truly excited about the challenge ahead of me to help us grow and win.”

Knaus will report to Andrews, who has been with Hendrick Motorsports since 1992. He previously held a variety of leadership positions in the team’s engine department, including director of engine operations.

Andrews will now oversee all competition-related departments, including powertrain, manufacturing, and racing operations. He is Hendrick’s primary liaison with NASCAR’s competition group. Andrews and Knaus have more than 50 years of combined experience with Hendrick Motorsports.

 

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