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When discussing his breakdown with seven-time NASCAR Cup Alternation best Jimmie Johnson, which will action at the end of the season, aggregation arch Chad Knaus fabricated a address to the media.
“Let’s be aboveboard — who anytime anticipation that this would accept gone 17 years?” Knaus said on Oct. 11, a day afterwards it was appear he would serve as William Byron’s aggregation arch abutting year. “My point is this: Instead of absorption on what is the unknown, reflect a little bit on what we accomplished.
“And that is what I accept actually focused on. We accept done amazing things over the beforehand of our career. It should not accept stemmed the amount that it did.”
With Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus catastrophe their longtime affiliation this Sunday, actuality are Ryan McGee’s top tandems in Cup alternation history.
Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are anniversary aiming for addition championship, while Joey Logano is activity afterwards his aboriginal Cup alternation title. Here’s a attending at anniversary of them.
OK, so let’s booty a attending at abounding of the amazing things — and, OK, some of the not-so-amazing things — that Knaus and Johnson able in their 17 years calm as they access their final chase as aggregation arch and disciplinarian on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC).
There accept been so many, so we had to aces a cardinal of moments — 48, to be exact — that helped ascertain their success.
1. Aboriginal Cup race, aboriginal pole, February 2002: Johnson, in his fourth career Cup alpha but in his aboriginal with Knaus as his aggregation chief, won the pole for the 2002 Daytona 500. He accomplished 15th. Afterwards acceptable the pole, Johnson said: “I knew we were activity fast aback I came off of About-face 4 sideways. That was the aboriginal time I’d anytime had that appear to me in my career, so I knew we were accomplishing appealing good.”
2. Fontana win, April 2002: Johnson, a California native, led 62 laps to win the 2002 chase at Fontana, his 13th career Cup alpha and 10th with Knaus.
3. All-Star Chase win, May 2003: Johnson won in aloof his additional All-Star Race. He would go on to win four, the best of any driver.
4. Coca-Cola 600 win, May 2003: In his fourth career win, Johnson started 37th and won a rain-shortened, 276-lap chase a anniversary afterwards capturing the All-Star Chase victory.
5. Coca-Cola 600 win, May 2004: Johnson showed he could win a 400-lap race, as he led 334 of the 400 laps on his way to victory. Afterwards the win, Johnson keyed the radio: “I don’t apperceive how you guys can say domination, but I’ll say it. Yeah. That’s it! Domination!”
6. Martinsville win, October 2004, and tragedy: Johnson won on Oct. 24, 2004, a adverse day for Hendrick Motorsports, as a aggregation even comatose aback it overshot the aerodrome on a blurred day abreast Martinsville. Killed in the blow were Rick Hendrick’s son, Ricky Hendrick; Rick’s brother, HMS admiral John Hendrick; John’s accompanying daughters, Kimberly and Jennifer; Hendrick Motorsports agent architect Randy Dorton; Hendrick Motorsports accepted administrator Jeff Turner; DuPont controlling Joe Jackson; Tony Stewart pilot Scott Lathram; and Hendrick pilots Richard Tracy and Elizabeth Morrison.
7. Atlanta win, October 2004: In an affecting achievement seven canicule afterwards the tragedy, Johnson began the healing action for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson said in Achievement Lane: “It doesn’t change annihilation and we don’t get aback our accompany that we lost. But it abiding makes it feel a little bigger to do article like this.”
8. Southern 500 win, November 2004: Johnson swept the contest at Darlington and won the Southern 500, the aftermost year Darlington had two races.
9. Milk and cookies, offseason 2005: Some point to afterwards the 2005 season, with Johnson and Knaus sniping at anniversary other, aback Rick Hendrick sat them down, as the adventure goes, and handed them accolade on Mickey Mouse plates and brought them milk to drink. The affair started with Hendrick saying, “If you’re activity to act like accouchement …” They talked things out and the blow was history.
10. Knaus ejected from Daytona afterward 2006 Daytona 500 qualifying: Knaus was ejected from the Daytona 500 anniversary afterwards NASCAR bent in post-qualifying analysis that Johnson’s rear window was raised. One of the affidavit for the casting was again violations of NASCAR rules. He was abeyant for three contest afterward Daytona.
11. Daytona 500 win, February 2006: With Darian Grubb as his acting aggregation chief, Johnson won his aboriginal Daytona 500. During his career, he would win two of his 83 contest with Knaus suspended.
12. Brickyard 400 win, August 2006: Johnson won his aboriginal Brickyard 400. Beforehand in the week, Knaus had active a arrangement addendum through 2010. Knaus: “This candidly was the best anniversary of my life.”
13. Martinsville win, October 2006: Acceptable Martinsville aerial Johnson from seventh to third in the Cup standings with four contest remaining. He again followed that win with three afterwards second-place finishes.
14. Homestead, November 2006: Johnson accomplished ninth to win the appellation by 56 credibility over Matt Kenseth. It was the aboriginal appellation for Johnson and Knaus. Johnson: “Chad and I accept been through this, this is our fifth division calm and Chad actually has steered this aggregation and developed the aggregation guys and developed what we accept as a amount chase team, and I can’t acknowledge him abundant for actuality not alone a abundant baton but a abundant friend.”
15. Knaus’ six-race abeyance June 2007: Knaus and Jeff Gordon aggregation arch Steve Letarte were abeyant for six races, their drivers docked 100 credibility and fined $100,000 for manipulating the right-front fenders at Sonoma.
16. Texas win, November 2007: Johnson and Kenseth waged an acute action in the final 10 laps, and Johnson anesthetized Kenseth with about two laps larboard to win, aggressive Johnson to the top of the disciplinarian standings.
17. Phoenix win, November 2007: The win apparent Johnson’s 10th of the season, the best he would acquire in one year. That fourth beeline win additionally added his credibility lead. Knaus would say a anniversary later: “We’re appealing affronted competitors and what we appetite to do is win races. Aback we knew that was our alone way to get aback into the championship coursing was to win races, it was nice.”
18. Homestead, November 2007: Championship No. 2. Johnson accomplished seventh to win by 77 credibility over Gordon. Johnson: “We’re aloof actually hitting our stride. I anticipate we accept a lot of acceptable years advanced of us, and we’ll be affronted for added championships and actually acceptable added contest as years go by. Hopefully we can be a three-time best in the abreast future.”
19. Brickyard 400 win, July 2008: Johnson won at the Brickyard for the additional time, but that wasn’t what was memorable about this race. This would become accepted as the annoy debacle, as NASCAR’s new “Car of Tomorrow” created added abrasion on the Goodyear tires than in accomplished years. The annoying Indy apparent became a cheese grater of the tires, and NASCAR had to bandy the attention about every 10 laps so teams could change tires.
20. Phoenix win, November 2008: The assertive achievement — Johnson led 217 laps, including the final 95 — gave Johnson a 141-point beanbag activity into the final chase over Carl Edwards. In added words, bold over.
21. Homestead, November 2008: In a delinquent championship season, Johnson accomplished 15th in the chase to win by 69 credibility over Edwards. Knaus on this date acclaimed Johnson as the best ever. Knaus: “I’ve been advantageous to assignment with actually abundant chase car drivers. I formed with Jeff Gordon in the 24 car. I’ve apparent what Jeff can do with a chase car and I’ve got a lot of account for what Jeff can do. To be able to assignment with Jimmie, he’s actually brought it to a new level. … In my eyes he’s the best that there’s been. People are activity to say Richard Petty is, Dale Earnhardt and all those guys. But with the antagonism akin the way it is today with what you’ve got to do working, antagonism day in and day out, no time to booty time off, in my mind, he is the best.”
22. Awards banquet, December 2008: The alone added disciplinarian anytime to win three afterwards championships — Cale Yarborough — abutting Johnson on the stage. Yarborough doesn’t do abounding appearances, and his attendance was a allegorical tip of the hat to Johnson that he could breach added annal in years to come.
23. Brickyard win, July 2009: Johnson became the aboriginal disciplinarian to win back-to-back Brickyard 400s.
24. Homestead, November 2009: Having won at Phoenix a anniversary beforehand to access 108 credibility advanced of Mark Martin, Johnson accomplished fifth at Homestead to accomplishment with a 141-point allowance for the appellation over Martin. But it didn’t appear afterwards some stress. Knaus: “We get mad at anniversary added — there’s no agnosticism about it. But I anticipate that is allotment of the activating we’ve got. Jimmie is acutely about actual mellow, which counters my aggressiveness, I assumption you would say, actual well.”
25. Bristol win, March 2010: This win wasn’t aloof the aboriginal for Johnson at Bristol — it apparent his 50th Cup victory. It wasn’t easy, as Johnson anesthetized Tony Stewart with seven laps left.
26. Talladega, April 2010: Johnson fabricated Gordon, his teammate, affronted with seven laps actual aback he blocked him, banishment him beneath the chicken band to lose several spots. Gordon: “The 48 is testing my patience, I can acquaint you that. It takes a lot to accomplish me mad and I am pissed appropriate now. Aback a car is activity that abundant faster, I don’t apperceive what is [going on] with me and him appropriate now.”
27. Sonoma win, June 2010: Johnson becoming the aboriginal alley beforehand achievement of his career. He did get a allowance aback Marcos Ambrose adjourned his car beneath attention and didn’t beforehand pace-car speed, handing the beforehand to Johnson.
28. Dover win, September 2010: Johnson’s achievement came afterwards he opened the Chase with a 25th-place accomplishment at New Hampshire. He would accomplishment additional the abutting anniversary at Kansas to booty the credibility lead.
29. Homestead, November 2010: Johnson entered the chase 15 credibility abaft Denny Hamlin, while Kevin Harvick was 46 credibility abaft Hamlin, who had suffered a bad day a anniversary beforehand aback the aggregation had to pit backward for fuel. Johnson accomplished second, Hamlin accomplished 14th and Johnson won the appellation — his fifth afterwards — by 39 credibility over Hamlin. Johnson: “I assumption I haven’t anticipation abundant about breadth we are in attractive up at what Petty and Earnhardt accept done. I mean, absolutely, I would adulation to tie them. I would adulation to beat them. I don’t apperceive how astute that is. I never anticipation … that I would get to this point.”
30. Talladega win, April 2011: In the era of bike racing, Dale Earnhardt Jr. pushed Johnson on the central of a three-wide action at the accomplishment band to win.
31. Atlanta, September 2011: Johnson didn’t win this one, but he waged an ballsy action with Gordon, a action that Gordon would eventually win for his 85th career victory.
32. Phoenix, November 2011: Johnson was clearly alone from championship altercation afterwards a 14th-place run. His affairs were ambiguous afore that race, but his band of championships clearly concluded at bristles that day.
33. Knaus abeyance chaotic on address in March 2012: Knaus was abeyant for six weeks, fined $100,000, and Johnson was docked 25 credibility for actionable adapted C-posts that NASCAR begin in Daytona 500 pre-qualifying inspection. The cardinal was chaotic by NASCAR arch appellate administrator John Middlebrook, who did not abolish the $100,000 fine. The aggregation said the C-posts had been acclimated in antecedent seasons and added teams were accustomed befalling to assignment on their C-posts afterwards penalty. Knaus: “It’s been years aback we’ve been in trouble. It’s adverse the acumen out there is we abide to angle the rules, because we absolutely don’t. … We go aloft and above to be adjustable with what they want.”
34. Darlington win, May 2012: The win in the Southern 500 gave Hendrick Motorsports its 200th victory.
35. All-Star Chase win, May 2012: What was memorable about this All-Star win? Rick Hendrick climbed into the driver-side window and rode with Johnson bottomward the frontstretch to Achievement Lane.
36. Brickyard win, July 2012: Johnson became the aboriginal disciplinarian to win four Brickyard 400s.
37. Phoenix, November 2012: A bit of adverse affairs in a cardinal chase in which Johnson entered arch the points, but he blew a annoy (likely from boundless braking) and hit the bank with 78 laps to go. He absent the credibility beforehand to Brad Keselowski, who went on to win the championship.
38. Daytona 500 win, February 2013: Johnson won the Daytona 500 for the additional time in his career. It was the aboriginal for Knaus aback he was abeyant for the 2006 win. Knaus: “When those guys were able to appear bottomward actuality and win the Daytona 500 in 2006 in my absence, I anticipate that actually caked the backbone of the 48 car. Was I here? No. Was I actuality in spirit? Best definitely. I couldn’t accept been prouder of the accumulation of guys we had there. To assuredly be able to appear bottomward actuality and win and be a allotment of this is actually a huge dream appear true.”
39. Addition Daytona win, July 2013: Johnson’s ambit of the Daytona contest was the aboriginal time it had happened aback 1982.
40. Homestead, November 2013: In the aftermost chase of NASCAR’s non-elimination championship format, Johnson entered the afterpiece 28 credibility advanced of Kenseth and 34 credibility advanced of Harvick. Johnson accomplished ninth, acceptable the appellation by 19 credibility over Kenseth. Johnson: “When I attending aback on the year, I anticipate about the Gen 6 car, the chase to amount out what the car capital for speed, the adamantine assignment from everybody at Hendrick, the way we’ve been able to affix through the 48 team, acquisition acceleration in the car, beforehand the car, innovate in the barn breadth with the setups that are in the car. I accord Chad all the acclaim in the apple for honing in on those things, award acceleration and architecture me fast chase cars.”
41. Charlotte, October 2014: We’ll use this chase to authenticate that they didn’t consistently get along. They had an abominable altercation on the radio during the race. Knaus asked him what was activity on and Johnson replied, “I’m active my ass off and I’m about to crash.” Knaus responded by saying, “Listen, why are you crashing, I’m aggravating to advice you.” Johnson replied, “You asked me what’s activity on.” Knaus asked him breadth he was abolition and Johnson said, “The racetrack. I drive it in absolute hard, I accelerate it to the bank and about crash.” As Johnson would afterwards call their relationship: “We action like family.”
42. Knaus wedding, August 2015: How abundant access has Johnson had on Knaus? Johnson was Chad’s best man at Chad’s wedding. Abounding acclaim Johnson with allowance Knaus acquisition a antithesis in life.
43. Atlanta win, February 2016: Johnson took the beforehand in the chase by pitting beforehand for tires than the antagonism on their final green-flag pit stops in a bold move by Knaus at a clue breadth annoy abrasion played a role. Johnson was able to absorb the beforehand on an overtime restart on his way to the 76th achievement of his career — attached Earnhardt on the best wins list.
44. Homestead win, November 2016: Having fabricated it to the championship round, abounding accept Johnson had the fourth-best car amid the four championship finalists. But afterwards a blast amid Joey Logano and Edwards, Johnson begin himself in position to win, and he capitalized to abduction his seventh Cup title, attached Earnhardt and Petty for the best titles. Johnson: “Loyalty is a huge affair with me. We’ve had our bumps in the road, but he’s a brother, and I’m so appreciative of him and so beholden that whatever drew us to one addition and created this befalling for us to alpha the 48 aggregation and assignment calm happened. It’s amazing. I would not be actuality today as a seven-time best afterwards Chad Knaus.”
45. Dover win, June 2017: This is the best contempo win for Johnson, the 83rd of his career, which ties him for sixth on the best account with Yarborough. Johnson has 11 wins at Dover, the best for him at any clue on the circuit.
46. Charlotte alley course, September 2018: Johnson spun while aggravating to canyon Martin Truex Jr. in the final about-face of the new Charlotte alley course. Johnson aloof didn’t not win — the circuit additionally acquired him to lose abundant spots that he bootless to beforehand to the additional annular of the playoffs.
47. Johnson-Knaus breakdown for 2019 announced, October 2018: On Oct. 10, Hendrick Motorsports appear that Johnson would accept a new aggregation arch (Kevin Meendering) for 2019 while Knaus would move over to aggregation arch for William Byron. Knaus had active a arrangement addendum three months beforehand aback the absorbed was to accumulate them together, but their struggles had mounted. Johnson: “Over the years, we’ve actually had our acrimonious moments, but the charge we’ve had to one another, our accord and the success of the team, we’ve invested a lot in that and put a lot of time in it. The accommodation to breach up, it took a continued time to accomplish that accommodation as well. It’s not article that was like, ‘OK, yeah, that’s what we’re activity to do.’ We put a lot of anticipation into it, formed on it, and I anticipate that we accept a actually able plan affective forward.”
48. Aftermost Cup chase together, November 2018: OK, it hasn’t happened yet. But it will this Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway. It could be bittersweet, as Johnson hasn’t won this year, acceptation it actual acceptable could be his aboriginal abounding division of the 17 afterwards a win.
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