SPARTA, Kentucky – Champion crew chief Chad Knaus has signed a contract extension to remain at Hendrick Motorsports through the 2020 season, the team announced Saturday afternoon.
Knaus’ contract was to have expired after this season. Knaus said he signed the contract extension in the last couple of weeks. JImmie Johnson is signed through the 2020 season.
Johnson and Knaus have been together since Johnson’s rookie year in 2002, the longest current tenure in the sport. They’ve combined to win seven championships.
“I think I’ve got a lot of opportunities to do a lot of things in the future, but right now we are focused on trying to get the ship righted at Hendrick Motorsports and get our cars qualifying and racing a little bit better,” Knaus said in comments distributed by Hendrick Motorsports. “And that is my primary goal.”
Johnson enters Saturday night’s race at Kentucky Speedway (7:30 p.m. ET, NBCSN) on a 41-race winless streak, the longest drought of his career.
“Obviously, I’m a very competitive person and if we go three weeks without winning I’m frustrated,” Knaus said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and competing. I love to compete. The winless streak right now, yeah although it’s not where we want to be by any stretch of the imagination it is where we are. It’s our reality right now and we’ve got to fight through it.”
Johnson starts 27th tonight.
Even with the struggles this season, the carrot of a record eighth championship remains.
“I would say that in years past it was maybe more just focusing on the next week,” Knaus said. “But I think I would be foolish and lying to not admit the fact that to get eight championships and to put Jimmie on a pedestal by himself at the top of the standings with championships is not a huge desire of mine and something I definitely want to try to achieve.”