Chad Knaus to leave No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team after 2018
CONCORD, N.C. -- One of NASCAR's most successful driver-crew chief partnerships is coming to an end after the 2018 season.
Hendrick Motorsports announced Wednesday that Chad Knaus will leave the No. 48 team driven by Jimmie Johnson to become the new crew chief for William Byron and the No. 24 team. In 606 starts in NASCAR's Cup Series, Johnson and Knaus have combined to win a record seven championships and 83 races.
Knaus will be replaced by Kevin Meendering, crew chief for Elliott Sadler in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Darian Grubb, current crew chief for Byron, will move to an executive leadership role within the Hendrick organization.
"Chad and Jimmie will go down as one of the greatest combinations in sports history," Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick said. "They defied the odds by performing at a championship level for longer than anyone could've possibly imagined. What they've accomplished together has been absolutely remarkable and will be celebrated for generations. This has been an incredible, storybook run."
Knaus will return to the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports team he originally joined 25 years ago. From 1993 to 1998, the Rockford, Illinois, native assumed a variety of duties under the direction of crew chief and mentor Ray Evernham. He oversaw body development and served as a tire changer for the No. 24 team, proving to be an integral part of driver Jeff Gordon's 1995 and 1997 Cup titles.
"We believe these decisions will provide us with a tremendous opportunity for success in the future," Hendrick said. "As an organization, we are here to win races and compete for championships. Everything we do comes down to putting our people in the best possible positions to further that objective.