As members of Hendrick Motorsports Dale Earnhardt Jr. the driver of the No. 88 machine and Chad Knaus the Crew Chief of the No. 48 machine have been teammates for some time now. While the two might be teammates now this wasn’t always the case. In fact, earlier this week Earnhardt Jr. recalled a moment in time in which he thought that Knaus not only wanted to punch him in the face but it seemed like he was going to do so.
Following his career best finish at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, Earnhardt Jr. tweeted out the following story reflecting on an encounter that he had with Knaus at Sonoma years ago.
Funny story about a race at Sonoma earlier in my career.
I got dumped late in the race and lost several positions and found myself behind Stacy Compton in the No. 9 car. Coming into the last corner before the white flag I dumped Stacy. I didn’t have intent heading into the corner but when I hit him I left no doubt that I didn’t care what the end result was for him in the matter. I went on and finished the last lap and recorded a miserable finish.
Now, I’ve always been a nose bleeder. When I was a kid I had one nearly every day. As I got older it eased up a bit. But still to this day I get a bloody nose now and then. It most happens when i spend time on the west coast due to the environmental differences. It happened in this particular race and by the end of the race my face was a bloody mess.
I drove my car to the garage and parked behind my hauler, disappointed by the result. I unstrap and remove helmet and gloves. As I am about to exit the car up walks Stacy Compton’s crew chief Chad Knaus. I assume he is about to bloody my nose. He assumes that someone has already beat him to it. His eyes grew as large as silver dollars and without saying a word he turns and walks in the opposite direction.
We’ve yet to discuss this odd encounter to this very day.
As we all know tempers can boil over in the heat of the moment on the track. Can you imagine being upset enough with someone to find them in the garage area to confront them only to see that it would appear that someone else has gotten to them before you? I can only imagine the kind of expression that was on the face of Knaus.