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Chad Knaus to be a father in August

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Chad Knaus’ wife, Brooke, announced Monday night that the couple is expecting its first child this year.

Brooke tweeted that she is due in August.

Chad Knaus is in his 17th season as Jimmie Johnson‘s crew chief. They’ve won seven championships together, leaving Knaus one behind the all-time record for a crew chief. Dale Inman won eight championships — seven with Richard Petty and one with Terry Labonte.

 

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Friday 5: Questions about size of future Hall of Fame classes

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After NASCAR celebrates the ninth Hall of Fame class tonight (8 p.m. ET on NBCSN), questions may soon arise about how many inductees should be honored annually.

NASCAR inducts five people each year. When NASCAR announced eligibility changes in 2013, a former series executive said that the sanctioning body would “give strong consideration” to if five people should be inducted each year and if there should be a veteran’s committee “after the 10th class is seated.’’

The 10th class — which Jeff Gordon will be eligible for and expected to headline— will be selected later this year and honored in 2019. That gives NASCAR a year to determine what changes to make if officials follow the schedule mentioned in 2013. NASCAR has discussed different scenarios as part of its examination of the Hall of Fame.

Among the questions NASCAR could face is should no more than three people be inducted a year? Should only nominees who receive a specific percentage of the vote be inducted? Should other methods be considered in determining who enters the Hall? 

Only one of the last five classes had all five inductees selected on at least 50 percent of the ballots. Five people in the last three classes each received less than 50 percent of the vote.

The challenge is that if NASCAR reduced the number of people inducted after the Class of 2019, it could create a logjam in the coming years.

Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards (provided Edwards does not return to run a significant number of races) would be eligible for the Class of 2020.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Matt Kenseth (provided Kenseth does not return to run a significant number of races) would be eligible for the Class of 2021.

Stewart would appear to be a lock for his year and it seems likely Earnhardt would make it as well his first year.

If the Hall of Fame classes were cut to three a year, and Stewart, Earnhardt and Kenseth each were selected in those two years, that would leave three spots during that time for others.

The nominees for this year’s class included former champions Bobby Labonte and Alan Kulwicki, crew chief Harry Hyde (56 wins, 88 poles) and Waddell Wilson (22 wins, 32 poles), car owners Roger Penske, Jack Roush and Joe Gibbs and Cup drivers Buddy Baker, Davey Allison and Ricky Rudd.

A 2019 Class that might feature Jeff Gordon, Harry Hyde, Buddy Baker and two others would still leave some worthy candidates who might not make it for a couple of years if the number of inductees is reduced.

Of course, there are those who haven’t been nominated that some would suggest should be, including Smokey Yunick, Humpy Wheeler, Buddy Parrott, Kirk Shelmerdine, Neil Bonnett, Harry Gant and Tim Richmond. That could further jumble who makes it if the number of inductees is reduced.

Those are just some of the issues NASCAR could face as it examines if any changes need to be made.

2. Hall of Fame Classes and vote totals

Note: NASCAR did not release vote totals for the inaugural class (2010 with Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt, Junior Johnson, Bill France Sr., and Bill France Jr.). Below are the other classes with the percent of ballots each inductee was on:

2018 Class

Robert Yates (94 percent)

Red Byron (74 percent)

Ray Evernham (52 percent)

Ken Squier (40 percent)

Ron Hornaday Jr. (38 percent)

2017 Class

Benny Parsons (85 percent)

Rick Hendrick (62 percent)

Mark Martin (57 percent)

Raymond Parks (53 percent)

Richard Childress (43 percent)

2016 Class

Bruton Smith (68 percent)

Terry Labonte (61 percent)

Curtis Turner (60 percent)

Jerry Cook (47 percent)

Bobby Isaac (44 percent)

2015 Class

Bill Elliott (87 percent)

Wendell Scott (58 percent)

Joe Weatherly (53 percent)

Rex White (43 percent)

Fred Lorenzen (30 percent)

2014 Class

Tim Flock (76 percent)

Maurice Petty (67 percent)

Dale Jarrett (56 percent)

Jack Ingram (53 percent)

Fireball Roberts (51 percent)

2013 Class

Herb Thomas (57 percent)

Leonard Wood (57 percent)

Rusty Wallace (52 percent)

Cotten Owens (50 percent)

Buck Baker (39 percent)

2012 Class

Cale Yarborough (85 percent)

Darrell Waltrip (82 percent)

Dale Inman (78 percent)

Richie Evans (50 percent)

Glen Wood (44 percent)

2011 Class

David Pearson (94 percent)

Bobby Allison (62 percent)

Lee Petty (62 percent)

Ned Jarrett (58 percent)

Bud Moore (45 percent)

3. Charter Switcheroo

Five charters have changed hands since last season. One will be with its third different team in the three years of the charter system.

In 2016, Premium Motorsports leased its charter to HScott Motorsports so the No. 46 team of Michael Annett could use it.

The charter was returned after that season, and Premium Motorsports sold the charter to Furniture Row Racing for the No. 77 car of Erik Jones for 2017.

With Jones moving to Joe Gibbs Racing and Furniture Row Racing not finding enough sponsorship to continue the team, the charter was sold to JTG Daugherty for the No. 37 team of Chris Buescher for this season. (The No. 37 team had leased a charter from Roush Fenway Racing last year).

So that will make the third different team the charter, which originally belonged to Premium Motorsports, has been with since the system was created.

4. Dodge and NASCAR?

Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne excited fans when he said in Dec. 2016 about Dodge that “it is possible we can come back to NASCAR.’’

One report last year stated that Dodge decided not to return to NASCAR, and another countered that report.

While questions remain on if Dodge will return to NASCAR, Marchionne announced this week at the Detroit Auto Show that he’ll step down next year, and that Fiat Chrysler will release a business plan in June that will go through 2022. The company will announce a successor to Marchionne sometime after that.

Marchionne said, according to The Associated Press, that the U.S. tax cuts passed in December are worth $1 billion annually to Fiat Chrysler.

A Wall Street Journal story this week stated that Fiat Chrysler makes most of its profit from its Jeep and Ram brands, writing that those brands “have been on a roll as U.S. buyers shift to these kinds of light trucks and away from sedans, which is a segment the company has largely abandoned.’’

5. NMPA Hall of Fame

The National Motorsports Hall of Fame will induct four people into its Hall of Fame on Sunday night. Those four will be drivers Terry Labonte and Donnie Allison and crew chiefs Jake Elder and Buddy Parrott.

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NASCAR America: Ray Evernham, Dale Inman on Hall of Fame careers, today’s technology (videos)

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Dale Inman led Richard Petty to all seven of his Cup championships, as well as another title with Terry Labonte.

Ray Evernham led Jeff Gordon to three of his four Cup crowns.

That’s 11 Cup championships between the two, accounting for roughly one-sixth of all Cup crowns since NASCAR was formed in the late 1940s.

Dale Inman

Inman and Evernham stopped by Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America — at the NASCAR Hall of Fame — and regaled viewers for an hour with some great stories about their respective illustrious careers.

Check out the video above as Evernham and Inman regaled NASCAR America viewers with some great stories of their career.

Oh, and one other thing about Evernham and Inman: they’re both admittedly old school crew chiefs. While they’ve tried to embrace technology throughout their careers, they readily admit they’re not necessarily fans of some of the latest technology in the sport today.

To get their thoughts on today’s technology, check out the video below.

NASCAR America: The evolution of pit crews, strategy and debriefs

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During NASCAR’s nearly 70 years of competition, one area that used to almost be taken for granted has evolved into one of the most important elements of every race and how it plays out.

We’re talking about pit crews. On Wednesday’s edition of NASCAR America, our Steve Letarte had a chance to talk at length with two of the best crew chiefs there ever was, Ray Evernham and Dale Inman.

They spoke at length about how pit crews have evolved over the years, and how important they’ve becoming in servicing a race car in the shortest time possible, yet making the most impact of hoped-for positive changes in the race car

Evernham remembered how it was back in the day when he first became a crew chief. “We had guys running around in cowboy boots and smoking cigarettes” while performing car servicing on pit road.

Over the last 30-40 years, how to best utilize pit crews, as well as strategy related to pit stops, have become a science that is part engineering, athleticism, strategy and even luck.

Check out what two of the best crew chiefs ever said about how the sport has changed on pit road.

Also during Wednesday’s show, this week’s nominees for the Pit Crew All-Stars were named. Check out the video below:

NASCAR America 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN: Evernham, Inman, Squier from NASCAR Hall

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs live from the NASCAR Hall of Fame from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Marty Snider, Steve Letarte and Dale Jarrett host from the NASCAR Hall of Fame, with special guests Dale Inman, Ray Evernham and Ken Squier.

On today’s show:

* Veteran crew chiefs Inman and Evernham discuss their journey in NASCAR and share some of their fondest memories.

* Squier stops by to tell us how Darlington Raceway has thrived throughout the years, plus what it means to be a NASCAR Hall of Famer.

* Letarte will hold a crew chief debrief which examines the many changes in NASCAR over the years.

* Also, fans can submit their questions by using #AskALegend

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also 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 enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

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