July 14, 2018 / 7:29 PM / 2 months ago

Crew chief Knaus sticks with Johnson through 2020

The wildly successful tandem of NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus will stay together through at least 2020 after Hendrick Motorsports renewed Knaus’ contract.

Jul 13, 2018; Sparta, KY, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) after practice for the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Knaus, whose previous deal was set to expire at the end of this season, announced the two-year extension Saturday on ESPN. Johnson and Knaus have won seven NASCAR Cup Series titles in 17 years together with the No. 48 car.

“Obviously, Jimmie and I, although we are going through a bit of a slump right now, we have a great time racing together,” Knaus said. “We have a long relationship and enjoy everything 48. ... It was pretty easy (to stay).”

Johnson has 83 Cup Series victories, which is tied for sixth all-time. He is one of only three drivers to win seven championships, joining Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty.

However, Johnson has not earned a win in 41 straight races, which marks the longest drought of his career. He is in 12th place in the Cup Series season standings entering Saturday.

“I’m a very competitive person, and if we go three weeks without winning, I’m frustrated,” Knaus said. “So it’s just a matter of going out there and competing. I love to compete.

“The winless streak right now, although it’s not where we want to be by any stretch of the imagination, it’s where we are. It’s our reality right now and we’ve got to fight through it. ...

“This (contract) shows that we’ve got stability between Jimmie and I moving forward, which I think is obviously appealing to anybody (looking to sponsor). As we’re going to battle and then vying for our eighth title, I would think anybody would be foolish not to be on board with that.”

Lowe’s previously announced it will no longer be a sponsor of the No. 48 car or NASCAR after this season.

—Field Level Media

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