Rockford native guides Nextel Cup team to championship

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-116543493231443.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Rockford native Chad Knaus (left) poses for a photo with his trophy for “2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Champion Crew Chief” after receiving the award in New York. NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Director John Darby is also pictured.’);

Former Rockfordian Chad Knaus, crew chief for Jimmie Johnson, the 2006 NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion, was in New York last week to accept his championship crew chief award.

During his acceptance speech, the younger Knaus thanked his father, Rockford resident John Knaus, who joined his son in the Big Apple, for teaching him about racing as a youngster and allowing him to leave Rockford to pursue his dream.

Chad was 13 years old when he started working with his father at Rockford Speedway. The father and son team combined for three of the seven track championships held by the elder Knaus.

“Obviously, I’m very proud for Chad to come from a little town like Rockford,” John said. “I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished. He went down there and set his mind to it, and everybody knows about Chad’s determination to get his job done. That’s paid off for him in the long run.”

Despite an early season suspension because of a rules infraction at the Daytona 500, Chad was able to guide the Hendrick Motorsports Lowe’s Chevrolet to the season championship. Johnson finished ahead of another racer with ties to the area—Cambridge, Wis., native Matt Kenseth.

The rest of the final top 10 is as follows: 3. Denny Hamlin; 4. Kevin Harvick; 5. Dale Earnhardt Jr.; 6. Jeff Gordon; 7. Jeff Burton; 8. Kasey Kahne; 9. Mark Martin; 10. Kyle Busch.

From the Dec. 6 – Dec. 12, 2006, issue

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