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HomeNASCAR NewsNASCAR Drivers NewsJeff Gordon and Chad Knaus: Steering Apprenticeship Success in NASCAR

Jeff Gordon and Chad Knaus: Steering Apprenticeship Success in NASCAR

Jeff Gordon and Chad Knaus: Hendrick Motorsports Vice Chairman Jeff Gordon and Vice President of Competition Chad Knaus understand the value of apprenticeship. Whether it’s a skill or a trade, apprenticeship is a crucial part of any business model, bringing in new employees, providing proper mentoring, and turning them into “Journeymen.”

National Apprenticeship Week, commencing on November 13, has seen Hendrick Motorsports sponsor NAPA, through the NAPA Network, joining the “Grab the Wheel” campaign by the TechForce Foundation. The collective goal is to hire one million new automotive and aviation technicians in the next five years.

From November 13-30, applicants can apply for The NAPA Success for Tech Scholarships. Five scholarships will be awarded, including a tool kit and financial contribution to kickstart a career as a technician.

Jeff Gordon, behind the wheel of the No. 24 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports from 1992 to 2016, is one of NASCAR’s greatest drivers, winning 93 races and four Cup Series championships. He has transitioned into the role of Vice Chairman at Hendrick Motorsports.

Gordon and Knaus discussed the role of an apprenticeship program and its value in racing, the automotive industry, and aviation.

“From my perspective, it’s about the quality of the people you have,” Gordon emphasized. “As a driver who relied on these people to build this race car, prepare the race car, set it up and maximize the speed, you tend to lean on them a lot, depend on them and trust in them.”

Knaus, entering the NASCAR Hall of Fame in January, explained Hendrick Motorsports’ approach to apprenticeship. “We bring technicians in, interns in, apprentices in at a very young age. Then, we show them what we call ‘The Hendrick Way.’ We like to grow and promote from within.”

The apprenticeship model, crucial for skill development, has been a cornerstone of success for both Gordon and Knaus. Mentorship plays a pivotal role in this model, guiding individuals through their careers.

“I’ve been very fortunate to learn from a lot of guys in the Midwest early on in my racing career. My father being one of them. Mark Martin has been part of my life for a long time,” Knaus noted. “Getting here at Hendrick Motorsports at a young age, I started here when I was 21 working with Jeff Gordon and Ray Evernham and Rick Hendrick. They gave me so many opportunities to be successful.”

The importance of NAPA’s involvement lies in its ability to properly train future technicians and shed light on potential careers. Gordon stated, “The growing need for these jobs and the career path is there, and how you can advance. It’s also a great opportunity for someone looking to find that path in their life and get into the workforce in that way and enjoy working on cars.”

Both Gordon and Knaus highlighted the evolution of automotive knowledge from “mechanical” to “electronic” and stressed the importance of staying up-to-date with modern-day automotive advancements.

Jeff Gordon and Chad Knaus (2)

Gordon concluded, “This education process has to evolve with it, and it has and will continue to do that. These days, when I talk to the drivers, it’s complicated. They are shifting at Martinsville (a short track). There is no saving the equipment or the tires anymore. It’s running qualifying laps every single lap. It’s diagnostics of readouts with the digital dash.”

As both Gordon and Knaus continue their impactful journeys in the racing world, they serve as testament to the success achievable through a combination of passion, mentorship, and a commitment to continuous learning. NAPA’s support of aspiring technicians through initiatives like The NAPA Success for Techs Scholarship contributes to the development of skilled professionals in the automotive and aviation industries.

ALSO READ: Austin Hill: From Gordon’s Young Fan to Xfinity Series Contender

Our Reader’s Queries

Is Chad Knaus still with Hendrick Motorsports?

As the Vice President of Competition for Hendrick Motorsports, Knaus is responsible for overseeing the team’s performance on the track. With his extensive experience and expertise in the field, he plays a crucial role in ensuring that the team is always at the top of their game. Knaus is a true asset to the Hendrick Motorsports team, and his contributions are invaluable to their success.

Is Chad Knaus still married?

In August 2015, Knaus tied the knot with Brooke Werner, who was crowned Miss Vermont USA in 2009. The couple is blessed with two adorable children.

Who was Jeff Gordon’s crew chief in the 90s?

Ray Evernham, Chad Knaus, and Brian Whitesell, all of whom were involved with Jeff Gordon’s No. 24 team in the 1990s, share their experiences from the early days. They provide insights into what it was like to work with the team during its formative years, shedding light on the challenges and triumphs that they faced along the way. Through their stories, we gain a deeper understanding of the dedication and hard work that went into building one of the most successful teams in NASCAR history.

Is Jeff Gordon part owner of Hendrick Motorsports?

Throughout his illustrious career, Gordon was a stalwart of Hendrick Motorsports, where he drove for his entire tenure. Since 1999, he has also been an equity partner in the team, serving as vice chairman and co-owner. In this capacity, he works closely with chairman and majority owner Rick Hendrick, overseeing the organization’s competition and marketing groups. As a highly respected figure in the world of motorsports, Gordon’s contributions to the team have been invaluable.

Khushal Bhatia
Khushal Bhatia
Khushal Bhatia, a distinguished BA (Hons) English graduate from St. Stephen College (University of Delhi) and a holder of a Post Graduate Diploma in Journalism (English) from IIMC Delhi, is an accomplished journalist. Currently affiliated with, Khushal is an expert in covering a range of sports topics with a specialization in motorsports, particularly NASCAR. His insightful articles explore the nuances of the sporting world, providing readers with comprehensive analysis and the latest updates. With a commitment to unbiased reporting, Khushal's expertise and authoritative voice make him a reliable source for sports enthusiasts.


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