HOMESTEAD, FL - NOVEMBER 20:  Jimmie Johnson (L), driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrates with crew chief Chad Knaus in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Ford EcoBoost 400 and the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Championship at Homestead-Miami Speedway on November 20, 2016 in Homestead, Florida. Johnson wins a record-tying 7th NASCAR title.  (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)
Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images

Chad Knaus: ‘We’ve got a couple more years left in us’

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Chad Knaus said it would “difficult” both emotionally and financially for him to walk away from NASCAR if he and Jimmie Johnson won a record eighth Cup Series title.

The financial aspect likely only impacts the crew chief.

“I’ve got a mortgage, man,” Knaus said on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s “Tradin’ Paint” on Wednesday. “I’ve got to keep a job. Jimmie can probably scoot on out without a huge financial burden. But I can’t.”

Joking aside, Knaus said the prospect of pursuing yet another title after a hypothetical eighth would be too much to ignore.

“We’ve got a couple more years left in us I feel,” Knaus said. “I think Jimmie’s far from being done. I think he’s still got a lot of talent left inside his body to go out there and extract. I think Hendrick Motorsports provides us with such a great opportunity to go out there and make it happen. If you get eight, naturally you’d want to go try and get another one. We’ve just got to go out there and just race and that’s what we do.”

Johnson and Knaus are not kids anymore. They earned their seventh titles last November at the ages of 41 and 45 respectively. But the majority of the team that supports the No. 48 is new to the game.

“Our big group with the 48 car, they’re just getting mature now,” Knaus told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio. “A lot of our guys are fairly young and maybe in only their second or third year. These guys are just reaching their full potential. I think 2017 is going to be a fantastic year for this team to come into its own.”

They’ll be doing so under NASCAR’s new race and points format.

Knaus and company have adapted to every format NASCAR has used since 2004, though Johnson was eliminated from contention in the first round in 2015 after a part failure at Dover International Speedway.

Knaus believes a similar situation could still “take you out of the whole ball game.”

“It’s just getting in there and figuring out what it is,” Knaus said of the new format. “I think you’re going to see unique opportunities for guys to get bonus points, or playoff points, that they would not ordinarily have gotten. There’s going to be some uniqueness to that standpoint. You’re going to see a lot of guys get stage wins that maybe don’t get race wins, right? Those guys are going to get more points and potentially put themselves into a position to go out there and transfer into the (playoffs) where maybe they would not have.”

Knaus and Johnson will begin figuring out their latest obstacle to a championship in the Feb. 26 Daytona 500.

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NASCAR America live at 6 p.m. ET: Daytona 500 recap, Kurt Busch interview

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America recaps all the major stories that came out of the 59th Daytona 500, which was won for the first time by Kurt Busch.

The episode airs from 6 – 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Krista Voda hosts with Dale Jarrett from Stamford, Connecticut. Jeff Burton and Kyle Petty join them from Burton’s Garage.

Voda will interview Busch just under 24 hours after the biggest win of his NASCAR career.

If you can’t catch the show on TV, you also can watch it via the online stream at http://nascarstream.nbcsports.com

If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you plug-in that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 6 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Kurt Busch’s Daytona 500 winning car has a new home for the next year

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Kurt Busch’s Daytona 500-winning Ford Fusion has finally stopped rolling after adding an extra few hundred feet to its mileage log.

One day after capturing “The Great American Race,” the No. 41 was placed on permanent display for the next year at Daytona International Speedway’s Daytona 500 Experience Museum during Monday morning’s traditional race winner’s breakfast.

It was the first win for Stewart-Haas Racing in its first regular season race in Ford colors and power.

Check out some of the photos of the car and the festivities:

And then, last but not least, the Harley J. Earl Daytona 500 championship trophy is safely ensconced in its new home at Stewart-Haas Racing in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

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Atlanta to host 2,500th race in Cup history, last on current surface

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This weekend’s NASCAR action at Atlanta Motor Speedway, with all three major series running, will provide some interesting storylines.

First and perhaps most important, Sunday’s Folds of Honor Quik Trip 500 will be the last race ever held on the current track surface.

A complete repaving of the 1.54-mile high-speed quad oval track is slated to begin later this spring.

To make Sunday’s race all the more unique and momentous, it will also be the 2,500th race in Cup history.

AMS, which first opened in 1960, has had the same racing surface for the last 20 years, since its last repaving in spring 1997. That makes it the second oldest current surface in NASCAR.

During that time, it has played host to 31 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, 19 Xfinity Series races and 15 Camping World Truck Series events.

Among some of the highlights over the years on the outgoing surface:

* Dale Earnhardt’s 0.01-second margin of victory over Bobby Labonte in 2000. It would be Earnhardt’s 75th career Cup win and the second-to-last win of his storied career (won at Talladega that fall).

* In his third Cup start after the tragic death of Earnhardt in the 2001 Daytona 500, Kevin Harvick would take the re-numbered No. 29 to victory lane at Atlanta, capturing a 0.006-second margin of victory over Jeff Gordon.

* Carl Edwards’ first Cup win and the first of two wins for him in both Atlanta races in 2005.

* AMS’s first-ever night race in 2009.

* Sunday marks AMS’s 102nd 500-mile race. No other track on the circuit has hosted as many races of that length.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Sunday could also be a big day for defending and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

Having won both the 2015 and 2016 Cup races at AMS, Johnson is looking to become the first driver in track history to win three consecutive races there.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Fred Lorenzen won four times in as many years (1961 to 1964) at AMS, but they were not consecutive. Another Hall of Famer, Cale Yarborough, also won three straight spring races (1967 to 1969), but failed to win any of the fall races those same years at the track.

Johnson is also looking to extend his overall supremacy at the track, being the only active driver to have ever won there five times in a career (all on the current racing surface).

NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt holds the record for most wins ever at AMS with nine triumphs.

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Alex Bowman driving for GMS Racing in Atlanta Truck race

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 05: Alex Bowman, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, walks through the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 5, 2016 in Fort Worth, Texas.  (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
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Alex Bowman isn’t getting much time off between NASCAR starts.

Two weeks after he drove Dale Earnhardt Jr.‘s No. 88 in the Advance Auto Parts Clash, Bowman will make his first start this year in a race that counts. He will drive GMS Racing’s No. 24 truck in the Camping World Truck Series’ Active Pet Control 200 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Bowman is filling in for Justin Haley, who at 17, is too young to race on tracks 1.5-miles long or bigger due to NASCAR rules.

The defending K&N East Pro Series champion, Haley turns 18 on April 28.

The race will only be Bowman’s second start in the Truck Series. He made his first in 2015 at Michigan International Speedway for JR Motorsports. He started 16th and finished 11th that day.

Bowman continues to capitalize on his performance last season when he helped fill in for Earnhardt in the No. 88 while he recovered from a concussion. Bowman made 10 starts in the No. 88, which included winning the pole for the fall race at Phoenix Raceway. That qualified him for the Clash, which he finished third in.

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