Jimme Johnson has a new crew chief, effective immediately
Jimmie Johnson and chad Knaus have claimed 7 NASCAR championships together. Five of those championships were claimed in back to back order.
For 2019, the two parted ways. Knaus remained with Hendrick Motorsports. Now, he’s the crew chief for the young William Byron.
Kevin Meendering stepped in to serve as the new crew chief for Jimmie Johnson. So far, Johnson has collected three top-5’s in the first 21 races of the season.
Just last week at Pocono Raceway, Johnson claimed his 2nd career stage win. Now, after Pocono, there’s been a change.
Cliff Daniels will serve as the new crew chief for the driver of the #48 in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. He moves into the new role immediately and will sit atop the pit box this weekend at Watkins Glen International.
Daniels joined Hendrick Motorsports in 2014. In 2016, he worked as the race engineer for Jimmie Johnson as he went on to claim his most recent championship title that year.
In 2018, Daniels worked in the Hendrick Motorsports’ competition systems group. Last month, he moved back into the #48 team, returning as the race engineer.
Rick Hendrick on Cliff Daniels
“We have great confidence in Cliff’s ability to win races with Jimmie and the team,” said Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick.
“He’s a natural leader and tremendously talented from both a technical and communication standpoint. Cliff’s familiarity with Jimmie and the No. 48 team culture will benefit us a ton. He will bring the spark that’s been our missing ingredient.”
Kevin Meendering will remain with Hendrick Motorsports in a senior competition role.
“Kevin is a talent,” Hendrick said. “We have areas where he can make a major impact and help all four of our teams be successful. Everyone thinks the world of him, and we plan to keep him as a key member of our organization for as long as he wants to be here,” Hendrick concluded.
Jimmie Johnson on Cliff Daniels
“Cliff has really shined since he came back to the ‘48,’” Johnson said. “When he returned, there was an immediate change in the team dynamic that all of us felt.”
“We’ve worked together for a long time, have a ton of mutual respect and a shared vision. I have no doubt the strong connection and working relationship is going to pay dividends right away.”
“I’m so grateful to Kevin. He’s a truly awesome person who I think very, very highly of. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with him in his new role. He’s a brilliant guy and will make all of us better.”
Meet Cliff Daniels
Cliff Daniels is a short track racer. He raced late models at bullring style tracks in the Virginia area.
He graduated with a mechanical engineering degree which he earned from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNC).
In 2011, he joined his first NASCAR team, RAB Racing. Between 2013-14, he worked at the race engineer for Tony Stewart.
“We have an opportunity to win an eighth championship and a lot more races with Jimmie,” Daniels said.
“I’m proud to be in this position and have total faith in the team and our ability to perform at the level everyone expects. We have the best driver, the best organization and the best leadership, so everything we need to be successful is in place.”
“It’s always been my goal to become a crew chief, and I’m thankful to Mr. Hendrick for his confidence.”