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The Best Jimmie Johnson & Chad Knaus Moments

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Jimmie Johnson is about to be NASCAR Hall of Famer, and he is going in alongside his longtime crew chief Chad Knaus. The two have been together for some incredible moments in NASCAR history. Unfortunately, we only have room for a few, so here are the best five moments from the two’s time together.

5. 2002 Napa Auto Parts 500: First Career Win

Jimmie Johnson came out of seemingly nowhere to be a rookie sensation in 2002. In his 13th career start, he had a potentially race-winning car, but he was just a tick behind fellow youngster Kurt Busch. A late caution came out, and crew chief Chad Knaus elected to take fuel only on the final pit stop.

Johnson took the lead with 14 laps to go, and he never relinquished it. His first career win at his home race track. Little did everyone know the career that was beginning to bud.

4. 2007: 4 Wins in a Row to Lock Up A 2nd Championship

The 2007 NASCAR Cup Series season was dominated by Jimmie Johnson and his mentor Jeff Gordon. Gordon dominated the regular season garnering a 300+ point lead, and he took the lead back with five races remaining. Gordon won back-to-back races at Talladega and Charlotte as Johnson faltered, giving Gordon a 68 point lead.

Slowly, but surely, Johnson started chipping away. He won at Martinsville after leading the most laps, and he followed that up with a win at Atlanta after a great pit stop. Another win at Texas followed after a later battle with Hall of Famer, Matt Kenseth, and then, an incredible fourth win in a row at Phoenix.

Johnson took an 86 point lead into Homestead, and he won his second championship. This was the true changing of the guard moment in NASCAR and at Hendrick Motorsports. The student had become the master.

3. 2013 Daytona 500: Johnson wins Second Daytona 500

Jimmie Johnson won his first Daytona 500 in 2006, but Darian Grubb was his crew chief that day. Chad Knaus had been suspended during Speedweeks that year. In 2013, Johnson was not the dominant car of the day, but he waited patiently for for his moment.

It came in the closing laps as he took the lead from Brad Keselowski for good with 10 laps to go. Johnson would survive a late race restart and a ferocious charge from teammate Dale Earnhardt Jr. to take home his second Daytona 500 win.

2. 2010 Ford 400: Five Championships in a Row

The 2010 Championship was one that Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus had to earn. The two were trailing in the points to Denny Hamlin after a difficult race at Texas which saw Knaus swap pit crews with Jeff Gordon’s team. They creeped back into it with a solid fifth place finish at Phoenix, and they were only 15 points out.

At Homestead-Miami the following week, Johnson had a clean day as Hamlin faltered. Johnson went on to finish second to Carl Edwards, and Johnson won an unprecedented fifth straight championship.

1. 2016 Ford 400: Championship Number 7

Jimmie Johnson had to start at the back of the field at Homestead in 2016, but he slowly worked his way forward as the day went on. Eventually, a late caution brought him and the other three Championship four contenders, Carl Edwards, Joey Logano, and Kyle Busch close together for a restart. From there, Edwards turned across the nose of Logano, setting off a massive crash that Johnson avoided.

A couple of restarts later, Johnson was on the front row with Logano just behind and Busch had dropped back after pitting. Johnson got a great restart, and he passed the dominant car of the day, Kyle Larson. Johnson and Knaus beat out some of the best drivers of both their generation and the future generation to win their seventh Cup Series Championship.

An incredible career for Johnson and Knaus is rightfully ending up in a NASCAR Hall of Fame bid. The greatest driver-crew chief tandem of their generation, and maybe all-time. These are just a few of their great moments.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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