By admin | October 22, 2012
By Richard Allen
As if there was any doubt, Chad Knaus is the best crew chief in NASCAR. If proof is required, go back and look at the video from Sunday’s Sprint Cup race in Kansas and listen to how he directed the actions of his crew members after Jimmie Johnson spun and backed into the turn four wall on lap 137 of that race.
If any other proof is needed, look at the trophy case inside the Hendrick Motorsports shop.
After the crash, it looked as if the #48 team’s chances to post a good finish and remain in the hunt for a sixth Sprint Cup title in seven years might be sunk. The damage to the rear of Johnson’s ride looked to be severe enough that the car would have to be taken to the garage for repairs. However, after a quick assessment it was decided by the crew chief that the damage could be treated on pit road.
Listening to Knaus direct his team as they worked on the car was akin to listening to an NFL quarterback call an audible at the line of scrimmage after the defense has changed their original alignment. After several stops, the car appeared to be in good enough shape to keep up with the competition. And all of this work was completed without losing a lap.
But before the car could actually keep up with the competition, the driver had to believe that would be the case. Knaus not only demonstrated his mastery of handling the crew but he then showed that he could play the role of psychologist for the driver as well. Johnson was assured multiple times that the car was fine and that he would be able to run fast and safely.
Some complained on the social media sites that the #48 team was given too much time to work on their car. That may be, as NASCAR certainly wants the points championship race to go down to the wire. Nonetheless, the fact that this team was able to get their car to be as competitive as it turned out to be on an aero-sensitive 1.5 mile track was remarkable. And it was Knaus’ direction that allowed that to happen.
That’s just one of a number of reasons why Chad Knaus is the best in the business.
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