Knaus and Johnson prevail on a clean slate

FORT WORTH, TX - APRIL 09: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series O'Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on April 9, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

FORTH WORTH, Tex. – Chad Knaus, crew chief for race winner Jimmie Johnson, was pleasantly surprised at how racy Texas Motor Speedway became as Sunday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 progressed.

But NASCAR’s premier driver / crew chief duo had to deal with a new racing surface to pull off their seventh victory at TMS. That meant the notes from the six previous wins no longer applied.

“Coming here, we knew that it was going to be a challenge,” Knaus said. “We didn’t have any data from the race track. We didn’t know how to set up our simulation, so we had to do a lot of it kind of old-school. It really worked out well.

“Was very impressed with the way the race track began to take rubber, very impressed with the way NASCAR and everybody here at Texas Motor Speedway worked throughout the course of the night to get the groove widened out (dragging tires), and the track really got pretty racy there at the end.

“I think we saw some guys on the outside be able to maintain their position or even take the lead on restarts there towards the middle portion of the race and then to the end. It was a good weekend. It was a lot of fun to be able to come out here and race with this new race track.”