CONCORD, N.C. – The championship-winning duo of Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson are among the 15 nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2024.
Together, Knaus and Johnson won seven NASCAR Cup Series championships for the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team, including five consecutive titles from 2006 to 2010. They matched the Hall of Fame duo of driver Richard Petty and crew chief Dale Inman for the most championships by a driver-crew chief pairing in the sport’s top series. Knaus and Johnson won 81 Cup Series races together, which trails only Inman and Petty for the most wins by a driver-crew chief pairing.
“It is an honor to be considered,” Knaus told HendrickMotorsports.com. “The sport has given me a tremendous amount. It’s been my life for many, many years. To be able to be inducted would be fantastic. There’s not a lot of crew chiefs in there, so to potentially be added to that list would be really special.”
Knaus’ history at Hendrick Motorsports begins in 1993 when he was part of the famed Rainbow Warriors with the No. 24 team of driver Jeff Gordon and crew chief Ray Evernham. He worked with the No. 24 team for five seasons and was part of the 1995 and 1997 championship teams. After leaving the organization, he returned to serve as Johnson’s crew chief for the 2002 season, a run that lasted for 17 seasons. Knaus was also William Byron’s crew chief for two seasons and his 82nd win as a crew chief served as the young driver’s first in the Cup Series. He trails only Inman and Leonard Wood for all-time wins by a crew chief. Following the 2020 season, he transitioned to the team’s vice president of competition.
Johnson’s 83 wins at Hendrick Motorsports are second to NASCAR Hall of Famer Jeff Gordon’s 93 victories in team history. Johnson is tied with Cale Yarborough for sixth on the all-time Cup Series wins list. With seven championships, Johnson is one of three drivers to hold that honor – Petty and Dale Earnhardt are the others. Johnson drove for team owner Rick Hendrick from 2001 to 2020. He is now the co-owner of Legacy Motor Club, which competes in the Cup Series.
Knaus and Johnson were part of the Garage 56 collaboration between Hendrick Motorsports, NASCAR, Chevrolet, IMSA and Goodyear. Johnson was one the three drivers to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the No. 24 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1, while Knaus oversaw the project.
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Two others with ties to Hendrick Motorsports are on the ballot for the Class of 2024. Crew chief Harry Hyde worked at Hendrick Motorsports for five years (1984 to 1988). During that time, he worked with drivers Geoff Bodine, Tim Richmond, Benny Parsons and Ken Schrader. Nearly one-fifth of his wins as a crew chief – 11 of 56 – came with the organization. Hyde earned the first win in team history with Bodine at Martinsville Speedway in 1984 and helped guide Richmond to a seven-win campaign in 1986. Hyde finished third on the Modern Era ballot last year.
Ricky Rudd is on the ballot, too. He drove the No. 5 Chevrolet for the team for four seasons (1990-1993). Rudd earned four of his 23 wins with the organization.
Knaus, Johnson, Hyde and Rudd are all on the Modern Era ballot. Joining them on the Modern Era ballot are Neil Bonnett, Tim Brewer, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Harry Gant and Larry Phillips. The Pioneer Ballot consists of Donnie Allison, Sam Ard, AJ Foyt, Banjo Matthews and Ralph Moody. Two of the 10 nominees from the Modern Era ballot will be selected, while one of the five nominees from the Pioneer Ballot will be selected. Those three individuals make up the Class of 2024.
The Landmark Award, which honors those who have made significant contributions to the growth and esteem of NASCAR, consists of five nominees: Janet Guthrie, Alvin Hawkins, Lesa France Kennedy, Dr. Joseph Mattioli and Les Richter. One of those individuals will be selected as the recipient.
NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Day takes place on Wednesday, Aug. 2, and the Class of 2024 will be announced that evening. The 61-person panel of voters consists of members of the nomination committee, former drivers, former owners, former crew chiefs, manufacturer representatives, media members, the current Cup Series champion and representatives from the honors committee. A 62nd vote goes to the winners of the NASCAR.com Fan Vote, which is currently open and will close on Sunday, July 30, at 12 a.m. ET.