|Date of Birth
|Place of Birth
||Rockford, Illinois, U.S.
||NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing)
Chad Knaus is an American NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing) crew chief. He is currently employed at Hendrick Motorsports as the crew chief for the No. 48 Sprint Cup Series car, driven by Jimmie Johnson. Knaus has 53 victories as Jimmie Johnson's crew chief and is the only NASCAR crew chief to win five consecutive championships. He has worked in NASCAR since 1991.
Over this time, he has worked for four teams: Dale Earnhardt Incorporated, Melling Racing, Tyler Jet Motorsports, and Hendrick Motorsports. He has been a crew chief in NASCAR for 12 years. After being hired as crew chief for Stacey Compton at Melling Racing, the combination earned several pole positions in 2001. Knaus returned to Hendrick Motorsports for the following season, becoming crew chief of the No. 48 car driven by rookie driver, Jimmie Johnson. During the 2002 season, the team recorded three race wins, six top-five positions, 21 top-ten positions, and four pole positions, two of which were for the Daytona 500 and Aaron's 499. Knaus and Johnson finished the season fifth in the Driver's Championship. In 2003, the No. 48 team finished second in the Driver's Championship after earning two pole positions and winning three races, including the Coca-Cola 600. The team also recorded 14 top-five positions and 20 top ten positions. In 2004, the season began with some early disappointments in weeks two and three at Rockingham and Las Vegas. However, the team quickly rebounded with a week five win at the Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway. Subsequent victories at the Coca-Cola 600 and the Pocono 500 helped solidify their place in the NASCAR Chase for the Cup towards the end of the season. However, poor finishes at Talladega (37th) and Kansas (32nd) nearly ended their chances to win the Nextel Cup, but three consecutive wins, and four in the final six races, put the No. 48 team 18 points behind leader Kurt Busch going into the final race. The second victory at the Subway 500 in Martinsville on October 24, 2004, was marred by tragedy when Rick Hendrick's son, Ricky, nieces and brother were killed in an airplane crash en route to the race.
All eight passengers and both pilots died in the incident. The team eventually finished second in the Nextel Cup Series points, losing to Kurt Busch by eight points. While working for Hendrick Motorsports, Knaus was accused of cheating after Jimmie Johnson's 2006 Daytona 500 qualifying run. He made an illegal adjustment to the rear window, which resulted in his suspension from Sprint Cup events until March 22. Despite the loss of his crew chief (and having to start from the rear of the field in a backup car), Johnson won the Daytona 500, and two of the first three races overall, with interim crew chief, Darian Grubb.