Knaus, along with Jeff Andrews, are both being promoted to new leadership roles within HMS.
Knaus, 49, has won 82 races atop the pit box and seven championships including a record five in succession. His driver has also made the Cup Series playoffs every year the system has been in place since 2004, doing so with Jimmie Johnson and later William Byron.
VP of Competition
But following the 2020 season, the veteran crew chief will oversee the technical development of the entire four-car organization, including the 'Next Gen' car set to debut in 2022. Byron's replacement crew chief will be revealed at a later date.
“When I started at Hendrick Motorsports (in 1993) working for Ray Evernham, my goal was to be a crew chief,” Knaus said. “Starting at a young age, I wanted to win every race we entered and battle for every championship. Mr. (Rick) Hendrick has given me the chance to do exactly that, and I could not be more thankful to him. After all these years, my competitive desire has not changed at all, but now I have a family that deserves my attention. This new executive role will allow me to compete in a different way with all four of our teams while spending more time with my wife and two young children. I appreciate the company supporting my decision, and I’m truly excited about the challenge ahead of me to help us grow and win. I’m also looking forward to working closely with Jeff, who I admire and have great respect for. I owe so much to Mr. Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports, and I’m ready for the next chapter.”
Knaus will report directly to Andrews, who will be promoted to executive vice president and general manager.
“As we look to the years ahead, Jeff and Chad are going to play significant roles in our success,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “They’re tremendous leaders who are respected within our organization and across the entire auto racing world. In addition, they each bring unique strengths and skillsets that will complement each other extremely well and benefit all of Hendrick Motorsports. We’re in the business of winning, and this combination is going to help us do just that.
“In life, it’s rare to witness true excellence first-hand, but that’s precisely what we’ve been treated to with Chad. Today’s announcement is bittersweet because, in my opinion, he is the finest crew chief our sport has ever seen. Although we’re going to miss him atop the pit box, I’m heartened that Chad has made this decision for himself and his growing family and that he is energized about the opportunity to move us forward in a new capacity. There is no one with higher standards or a stronger passion for winning. He will continue to elevate Hendrick Motorsports and instill his championship mentality throughout the company.”
HMS drivers react
Byron released the following video statement, thanking Knaus for helping him mature as a NASCAR Cup Series driver and "elevating" the No. 24 team to another level.
Johnson also addressed the news, congratulating his long-time friend and former crew chief. "I just want to give a shoutout to Chad Knaus. A huge congratulations to you and the move that you're going to make. We shared so many great expectations throughout our career in motorsports. I know what you mean to me and to my family and I'm so happy for you and your family on this next chapter in your career."
Johnson will be retiring from full-time competition at the conclusion of the 2020 season and will join Chip Ganassi Racing for the road/street IndyCar schedule.