Photo courtesy Hendrick Motorsports

New book, ‘Psyched Up’, examines Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus race preparation

1 Comment

Chad Knaus is known for his impeccable attention to detail, his keen sense of preparation and uncanny way of strategizing that has led Jimmie Johnson to seven championships and 83 career NASCAR Cup wins, the most recent being this past Sunday at Dover.

How both Johnson and Knaus prepare – not just physically but also mentally – is featured in a chapter in a new book, “Psyched Up” by Harvard Business Review senior editor Daniel McGinn.

“I’d never met Jimmie or Chad before I did this reporting, but I was drawn to them for two reasons: I’d read enough interviews to know they are both smart and thoughtful, and because of their unmatched record for performance,” McGinn said in a media release.

Knaus and Johnson are featured in a chapter titled “Why You Need a Pre-Performance Ritual.” Among topics they discuss is how superstitions impact their mindset at the track.

“We like to joke that we’re not sure we’re superstitious, but we like to cover our bases just in case,” Johnson says in the book.

Adds Knaus, “I’m a believer in the saying, ‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.”

McGinn’s book features a broad spectrum of subjects, from athletes to Broadway to sales floors and DJ booths.

“Jimmie and Chad work in a job where their performance is judged on 36 afternoons,” McGinn said. “They do it on television with millions of people watching.

“Most of us work in jobs that are much different. But if you work in a job where there are particular days when you really need to bring your A-game, where the difference between being good and being really good comes down to how you do during a handful of stressful hours each quarter, odds are the techniques in this book will help you do it better.”

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NASCAR America: Steve Letarte: Denny Hamlin showing ‘remarkable consistency’

Leave a comment

Things have been going relatively well for Denny Hamlin on the track in 2018.

The Joe Gibbs Racing driver enters this weekend’s race at Martinsville Speedway sixth in points. Through five races, he’s finished outside the top six once (17th, Las Vegas).

NASCAR America’s Steve Letarte, Dale Jarrett and Nate Ryan discussed his season so far in addition to Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske.

Letarte said Hamlin has displayed “remarkable consistency.”

“Denny Hamlin is in my mind a super star driver that I know I am guilty of leaving him out of super star conversations,” Letarte said.

Ryan pointed to mistakes on pit road that have prevented Hamlin from enjoying more success this season and in his career overall. His result at Las Vegas was the result of a speeding penalty.

“Five races this season, four pit mistakes,” Ryan said. “He overshot his box at Daytona, he did that at Fontana, he sped in the pits at Phoenix. While I think they’ve had speed, I think that team is still stumbling in the same ways it has in the past. Unless they correct that, I don’t know if they’re championship level yet.”

Hamlin heads to Martinsville where he has won a career-best five races.

Watch the above video more


Trevor Bayne on Charlotte Roval: ‘You have to be on your game’

Photo: Charlotte Motor Speedway
1 Comment

Rain washed out the second day of Goodyear tire testing Wednesday on Charlotte Motor Speedway’s Roval. Goodyear has tentatively scheduled May 1 as a make-up test date.

Trevor Bayne, Kyle Busch, Paul Menard and Kyle Larson took part in the test Tuesday.

“I just took some slow pace laps and got a feel for the race track,” Bayne said in a statement from Charlotte Motor Speedway. “I was nervous, but I wasn’t anxious because I was never going to go out there and make qualifying laps. We worked our pace in and our plan, we stuck to it. I felt really good by the end of the day.

“You have to be on your game, that’s for sure. You can’t really let your guard down anywhere. There’s no room to make mistakes. If you make a mistake, you’re going to pay for it pretty quickly. If you try to do something and it doesn’t work, you’ll pay the price. It’s going to be a survival race. … If you’re smart, you take care of your car and you don’t make mistakes, you’ll have a really good shot at the end for a good finish. I enjoyed it. It was a challenge for me – something new – and I enjoyed that part of it.”

Organizational tests at Charlotte will be in July. There will be two different sessions. Each team is allowed to test at one of the two sessions, which will be July 10 (rain date of July 11) and July 17 (rain date of July 18).

The Charlotte Roval hosts the final race of the first round of the Cup playoffs on Sept. 30 on NBC.

 and on Facebook

NASCAR issues two fines for unsecured lug nuts at Auto Club Speedway

Getty Images
Leave a comment

NASCAR announced two crew chief fines for unsecured lug nuts last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

Adam Stevens, crew chief on Kyle Busch‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

In the Xfinity Series, Eric Phillips, the crew chief for Ryan Preece‘s No. 18 Toyota, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

No other penalties were announced.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Drivers to watch, favorite sports upsets

Leave a comment

Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN and begins to look forward to this weekend’s racing at Martinsville Speedway.

Marty Snider hosts with Dale Jarrett, Steve Letarte and Nate Ryan from the “Big Oak Table” in Charlotte.

What to expect from today’s show.

  • The same names have been dominating the headlines in the first five races in the 2018 season. We will take a look at some of the other drivers to be on the lookout for as the season rolls on.
  • One of NASCAR’s most historic tracks is up this weekend – Martinsville! We’ll check out some of the recent drama “The Paperclip” has provided ahead of the race.
  • In the spirit of March Madness, our panel will tell us about their most memorable sports moments, as well as some of NASCAR’s biggest upsets.
  • Plus, The Indianapolis 500 will have a new home in 2019. We’ll have all the details on NASCAR America.

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 enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.