Knaus not the only crew chief with Rockford ties

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Many Rockford-area Nextel Cup fans already know Jimmie Johnson won last weekend’s race at Indianapolis. They probably also know his crew chief is former Rockford resident Chad Knaus. It wouldn’t necessarily be ground-breaking news for most to see Johnson, Knaus and the rest of the Lowe’s Chevrolet team are the current points leaders in the “Race to the Chase.”

After 21 races, Johnson and the Lowe’s team have a 107-point lead over Cambridge, Wis., native Matt Kenseth.

I’m guessing that no matter how devoted a fan you are, most of you didn’t realize another former Rockford resident was heading up Dale Jarrett’s UPS No. 88 team. On July 31, Butch Hylton assumed crew chief responsibilities for the UPS racing team.

Hylton lived and worked in the Rockford area during the late 1980s and early 1990s. He was employed by Lunde Truck Sales and Ballard Electric. While in town, he also served as crew chief for former Rockford Speedway Late Model driver Vince Miller.

Prior to joining Yates Racing at the end of June, Hylton had experience working with Mark Martin, Stanley Smith, Elliot Sadler and Bobby Labonte. He was the “car chief” for Labonte when they won the Winston Cup Championship. Most recently, he was working as crew chief for the Robert Yates development program driver Stephen Leicht. He is expected to remain Jarrett’s crew chief for the remainder of this season. Hylton and his family reside in Concord, N.C.

Meantime, Knaus recently signed a three-year contract extension to stay with Hendrick Motorsports through 2010. His current agreement was due to expire at the end of the 2007 season. The deal was announced Saturday, Aug. 5 (Knaus’ 35th birthday). Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the Aug. 9-15, 2006, issue

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