Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus are probably the most successful driver-crew chief duo in the NASCAR industry.
Together they won the Cup Series championship seven times. Their 17 years of partnership further yielded 81 Cup race wins in total and Johnson only going to win two more without Knaus.
With things not going in the right direction for the team, Hendrick Motorsports decided to split the duo, with Knaus becoming the crew chief for William Byron and Johnson getting Kevin Meendering.
Recently, Johnson spoke about his relationship with Knaus and the struggle they had during the last years.
“I think the mistake we both made at the end of our time together was maybe not evolving enough in our relationship,” Johnson told Bensinger. “To the ‘new’ us. When times got tough, Chad reverted back to the crew chief that he was when we first started.”
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When asked about reverting back, Johnson said that Knaus used to be very specific to detail regarding Johnson’s mistake during his initial years in NASCAR and that Knaus started doing the same later in his career.
“That was the start of the decay, over probably a five to an eight-year period of time. He and I so wish we could go back and correct that because now looking back on it, it was a defense mechanism for him and he was only doing it because he cared. I just got tired of hearing it so I started firing back. In the car, while racing, instead of being focused on the job I would start thinking about what the hell I was going to say to him.”
Well, as every streak is supposed to end, Johnson and Knaus could not be together until Johnson’s NASCAR career. Things might have gone bad in the last years, but the amount of success yielded in their partnership is unmatched in the industry.