News & Media

Johnson: Nothing to testy radio exchange with Knaus

September 30, 2011, Sporting News Wire Service,

DOVER, Del. -- Despite a testy exchange on the radio last week at New Hampshire, it's business as usual for Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus -- to the extent that the five-time Cup Series champion and his crew chief haven't even talked about the incident.

During last Sunday's Sylvania 300, in which Johnson finished 18th and fell to 10th in the standings, 29 points behind Chase leader Tony Stewart, the driver of the No. 48 Chevrolet took umbrage at Knaus' cheerleading.

Essentially, Knaus told Johnson he had to do a better job of driving. Johnson insisted he was doing the best he could. At one point, Knaus told him, "If you're going to drive my car, you're going drive by my rules. I'm your crew chief and you will listen to what I say."

Johnson replied, "Chad, I'm not a little kid any more. I'm almost 36 and a half."

Was that an uncharacteristic display of vulnerability from a team that has been almost impervious to adversity in the past?

* Sound Off: Don't count out Johnson just yet

On Friday at Dover International Speedway, Johnson said simply that it wasn't their finest moment.

"After 10 years of working together, there are plenty of things that we know about each other and a lot of discussions that have taken place," Johnson said. "There hasn't been anything more than normal. I mean, when you work with someone as long as we have -- for over 10 years now -- there are hot spots and buttons that can be pushed that send someone over the edge.

"We know what took place last weekend, and he knows at times I can be frustrated with his cheerleading. That's what I said on the radio. So, it's nothing new to us. I know a lot of people are reacting to it and think that it's something abnormal. There's a lot of other instances throughout the last 10 years where stuff like this has gone on and during our review of races and review of things and how to be a better group -- a better team; we talk about this stuff all the time.

"So, yes it wasn't our finest moment on Sunday, but it is what we deal with. It's been part of what we've been dealing with for 10 years."

* Video: Johnson off to sluggish start in Chase

Anyone who might doubt Johnson's and Knaus' ability to do just that needs to look no farther than the five consecutive championships they've won together.