William Byron will have a different crew chief for Thursday night’s Super Start Batteries 400 NASCAR Cup Series race at Kansas Speedway. Keith Rodden will substitute for Chad Knaus atop the #24 Hendrick Motorsports pit box as Knaus and his wife, Brooke Knaus, await the birth of their second child.
“Originally, this was going to be a stretch of back-to-back off weekends for us, and everything was going to go to plan so I could be home for those two weeks,” Knaus said. “Unfortunately, we now have two races in one week due to the shift in the schedule from the pandemic. Either way, we still have a great plan in place so that I get to be by Brooke’s side, and we can welcome our baby girl together.”
Knaus has been a crew chief in the Cup Series since 2001 and joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2002 to be crew chief for eventual seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. He is in his second year as crew chief for Byron on the #24 team. Knaus’ absence at Kansas will snap a string of 464-straight races for the crew chief, dating back to 2008.
Rodden last served as a crew chief at the Cup level in 2017 on HMS’ #5 team with driver Kasey Kahne. He became a Cup crew chief in 2014 and moved to Hendrick in 2015 to work with Kahne on the #5 team. Rodden has one win as a Cup Series crew chief — Kahne’s win of the 2017 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. In 138 races as a Cup Series crew chief, Rodden has 16 top-fives and 40 top-10 finishes.
“We have a lot of depth to pull from in this situation at Hendrick Motorsports, and I know Keith is more than capable of getting the job done,” Knaus said. “I have all the faith that it will be a solid race for him and the #24 team.”
Byron is 16th in the Cup Series driver points standings, 18 races into the 2020 season. He is two points behind 15th-place Johnson and trails 14th-place driver Austin Dillon by three points.