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“It probably has a lot to do with Jimmie's patience,” Knaus said …
-- In Chad Knaus' meticulously neat office at Hendrick Motorsports, the presence of one memento and the conspicuous absence of so many others reveals much about NASCAR's greatest active crew chief.
He was the oldest of the family with two younger brothers.
"They just have the capacity for this." Said ESPN analyst Andy Petree, who won two titles as a crew chief for Dale Earnhardt: "Chad's already married to that 48 car.
After their Daytona 500 victory a year ago, he fawned over his new fiancée and wedding plans. I can't put the amount of effort into a relationship that you need. He doesn't allow his crewmembers to use phones at the track, and he has explored the concept of building cars in 24-hour shifts.
But entering a season in which he and Johnson will chase a record-tying seventh title in NASCAR's premier series starting in Sunday's Daytona 500, Knaus is single (again), childless and resigned to those being necessary sacrifices. Ray Evernham, who was voted the greatest crew chief in history by a 2006 media panel, hired Knaus at Hendrick more than 20 years ago and recalls the Rockford, Ill., native telling him, "I want to be you within five years." He estimates Knaus has toiled 90-100 hours a week since to achieve it, starting with voluntary double shifts between the team's body shop and a suspension area so he could learn all facets of a stock car.
There are no photos of family – and not because Knaus doesn't desire them. "I have to make sure what we're trying to achieve here is finished." There is a single-minded focus and insatiable work ethic within Knaus that some might say borders on the maniacal.
In the immediate afterglow of Johnson's fourth championship, Knaus spoke longingly of having a wife and kids. His fastidious and forthright style has been hailed as NASCAR's answer to Nick Saban among crew chiefs.
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Jimmie Johnson net worth and career earnings: Jimmie Johnson is an American NASCAR driver who has a net worth of $120 million.