After shocking the NASCAR world a week ago, Rick Hendrick and his empire of racing shook up NASCAR by breaking up legendary duo of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus. These two had won 81 races together, and could have been 83, had it not been for Knaus’ suspension. The duo had won a record-tying 7 championships together, and the only two legends that have done the same were Dale Earnhardt Sr and Richard Petty. After many expected Johnson and Knaus to finish their careers together, Hendrick had other ideas.
The announcement came on the heels of the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, where Johnson and Knaus are winless. This change was a longtime coming, as Hendrick has one of the youngest trios of future stars in the stable.
"The year is not over yet with Chad. We have put a lot of time and energy into the last 17 years. There’s some magic in that."
— Hendrick Motorsports (@TeamHendrick) October 11, 2018
“It hasn’t been a short-term decision or something that just happened in the recent time”, explained Johnson.
“It’s been an ongoing conversation that we’ve all had. The timing, just the way that it worked out, this is the week that it’s coming out to the public and we’re announcing it; we’ve invested a lot in that and put a lot of time into the decision to split up, it took a long time to make that decision as well. It’s not something that was like ‘ok, yeah that’s what we’re going to do’. We put a lot of thought into it, worked on it and I think that we have a really strong plan moving forward. Just getting through this week, get it behind us and get to work on what’s next”.
The change is a blessing in disguise for both teams, as it can fuel the fire for Johnson and Knaus to get that first win in the final moments of the 2018 season. It also fuels the fire for both teams next season, as Johnson will look to prove that he doesn’t need Chad Knaus, while the combo of Knaus and William Byron will look to prove that Knaus doesn’t need Johnson.
Featured Image: USA Today