Chad Knaus contributes test to win, sticking with game plan moving forward

Sometimes you have a test that doesn’t go anything like you hoped. Other times, you have a test and everything goes that way. That was the case for Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus and the No. 48 team as the test they had following Talladega at Texas paid off for them.

“IWe were able to really kind of break down what the race car was doing,” Knaus commented. “Jimmie was able to go out there and kind of explore a little bit and find the nuances of the racetrack in kind of a more calm environment.  I think it paid huge dividends for us from a lot of different levels, and it was good.”

The pay-off was huge as Johnson dominated the 500 mile race at Texas on Sunday, leading 255 laps on the way to victory.

One of the things that they noticed in the test was the fact that tire wear would be a concern, but Knaus says it was nothing out of the ordinary for his team.

“We saw that while we were here testing,” Knaus said, speaking of tire wear. “We really focused on the longer runs.  15, 20 lap runs here at the test to make sure we’d get the tires to last as long as what we needed.  Not so much worrying about the short run speed and the three, four, five laps.”

Knaus says in using the strategy they did, the test allowed them to get the car to run fast on the long run and keep the tires on it. Translating that to the race weekend, Knaus said they didn’t have to change their strategy much.

“We were very fortunate that as we were going through that, we knew there were going to be tire problems,” Knaus said. “The key is to not be the first one with the tire issue, and fortunately enough, we weren’t.”

While everyone focused on the tires and whether Matt Kenseth would blow another tire like he did during the test session, the 48 team kept to their game, getting their car right.

“We just came here and just did our thing,” Knaus said. “I think that’s pretty Classic 48.  We worry about us and just kind of let everything else go the way it should.”

Going into the final two events, that is the game plan as Knaus adds they’ll do what they do best and see where the chips fall. Last year, it was a tire failure at Phoenix that cost them the championship.

The question is: will they be able to get the sixth championship, or will something happen once again?

“I’m looking forward to it,” Knaus said. “I really am.  I think we were in great shape last year.  I think we’re in as good or maybe just a pinch better shape this year, though I do feel the opponent is a little more formidable than what we had last year. So I’m excited.  I really am.

“I love this time of year.  This is what we live for.  This is what we want to do.  We want to go out there and do everything we can to try to win Phoenix.”

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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