Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus Nov 18, 2016; Homestead, FL, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Jimmie Johnson (48) and his crew chief Chad Knaus during practice for the Ford Ecoboost 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmie Johnson headlines the Hall of Fame Class of 2024, NASCAR announced Wednesday. He’ll be joined by the man who helped make so much of his success possible.

Johnson will be joined in this year’s induction by his longtime crew chief, Chad Knaus. The other inductee for the class is Donnie Allison, who was voted in from the Pioneer Ballot.

The huge surprise is that Johnson didn’t go in unanimously. He received 93% of the votes of a 65-vote panel, meaning four voters did not include him on their ballots. Knaus garnered 81% of the vote and Allison got 53% of the votes.

Longtime NASCAR reporter Jeff Gluck summed up Johnson’s missing votes: “If anyone on the panel today doesn’t vote for Jimmie Johnson, I hope NASCAR makes the ballot public so we can ask them what the hell they were thinking.”

Johnson, 47, is a seven-time champion in NASCAR’s top series, including five titles in a row from 2006 through 2010. He logged 83 career victories. Those seven titles tie Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty for most by a driver in NASCAR’s top series. He still makes occasional starts in the series in his role as part owner of the Legacy Motor Club team.

Knaus, 51, was a driving force behind Johnson’s success from the very beginning. Knaus joined Hendrick Motorsports in 1993, and became crew chief for the rookie Johnson in 2002. They spent 17 seasons together. Knaus now serves as vice president of competition for Hendrick Motorsports.

“To go in with Chad … is so fitting and unique,” Johnson told reporters after the announcement. “The fact we get to go into the hall together makes it so special.”

“I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Jimmie Johnson,” Knaus said.

The third and final inductee, Allison joins his brother, Bobby, in the hall of fame. Allison, a member of the legendary Alabama Gang, notched 10 wins in a 22-year NASCAR career between 1966 and 1988. In his best season, 1970, he won three races.

Allison might be best remembered, however, for his role in a brawl near the end of the 1979 Daytona 500. Allison and Cale Yarborough wrecked while battling each other for the lead and began brawling, with Bobby Allison parking his car a lap later to join the fray. That nationally televised incident is credited with helping bring NASCAR into the national spotlight.

NASCAR also handed out the Landmark Award, for outstanding contributions to NASCAR, to Janet Guthrie, who made 33 starts in NASCAR’s top series in the 1970s.

Johnson, Knaus and Allison will be inducted into the hall on Jan. 19, 2024.

Racing fans shared their thoughts on NASCAR’s big news.


About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.