Chad Knaus Reveals the Secret Man Behind William Byron’s Immense Success in NASCAR Whom No One Knows


With 6 victory lane visits, William Byron was one of the most dominant drivers in NASCAR this year. Throughout the calendar, he put in strong performances behind the wheel of the #24 Camaro and reached as far as the Championship 4. Though he did end up not winning the championship, he had punched far above what was expected of him. But the success that the #24 team gained in 2023 cannot be owed to Byron alone.
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Behind every driver’s accomplishments is an equally good crew in the pits. That was the case for the young Byron too. In a recent interview, Chad Knaus threw the light on one crucial member who contributed to the driver’s historic season.
Chad Knaus puts the key to William Byron’s historic season in the spotlight
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In a recent interview with Forbes’s Bruce Martin, Chad Knaus, VP at Hendrick Motorsports, spoke about the importance of apprenticeship programs in racing. Knaus is a Hendrick Motorsports legend who won 5 consecutive championships. He captained the crew of Jimmie Johnson and later, William Byron. After ending his stint as chief in 2020, he joined the team to oversee its racing operations.
Talking about how Hendrick Motorsports is an organization that enables growth and promotion from within itself, he provided the example of an engine tuner who was a part of William Byron’s championship 4 car this year. He said, “We have one engine tuner right now that came to us from Rick Hendrick Chevrolet in Duluth, Georgia. He was a tech there and learned his way and came to us through that dealership. Now, he is one of the best engine tuners we’ve got, and he is tuning engines on the #24 car that battled for the championship at Phoenix.”
Talking further about how Hendrick Motorsports is able to sustain itself, Chad Knaus was one proud man.
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Chad Knaus expels pride at the “Hendrick Way” of things
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Along with Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus will be inducted into NASCAR’s Hall of Fame in January 2024. With 84 wins as a crew chief, he has won a total of 7 Cup Series championships. Starting his career with Hendrick Motorsports’s #24 team in 1993, he was part of Jeff Gordon’s crew. Through the following 3 decades, he has stayed with Rick Hendrick aiding and developing the organization.
Proud of how the entirety of Hendrick Motorsports functions symbiotically, he said, “The biggest reason we are fortunate, we are able to move people through and up at Hendrick Motorsports. That is one of the things we are most proud of. We bring technicians in, interns in, apprentices in at a very young age. Then, we show them what we call the “The Hendrick Way.’ We like to grow and promote from within.”
USA Today via Reuters May 2, 2021; Kansas City, Kansas, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Larson (5) makes a pit stop at Kansas Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports
Forbes’ conversation with Chad Knaus was in regard to the National Apprenticeship Week that began on November 13. Through Knaus’s words and career itself, it is clear that he has a high regard for apprenticeship and the usually overlooked members of any racing organization. Regardless of whether one is a fan of Rick Hendrick’s team or not, their efforts at developing their internal teams are certainly commendable. Through the “Hendrick Way”, they were able to get the 24-year-old William Byron to reach a new high in his yet-to-peak career.
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