NASCAR's Silly season is in full swing! For the 2019 season, we already know that reigning champion Martin Truex Jr's team at Furniture Row Racing will be shut down. Martin will move to Joe Gibbs Racing's 19 car, displacing Daniel Suarez. No word on Suarez's fate. Daniel Hemric will drive the 31 Richard Childress Racing car. Current driver Ryan Newman is going to the 6 Roush Fenway car. No word on current driver Trevor Bayne's fate. Ryan Preece will take over the 47 JTG Daugherty car from AJ Allmendinger. You guessed it. No word on AJ Allmendinger's fate. Kurt Busch said that he is looking at two contracts for next year, but never said if either of those contracts is with his current team Stewart-Haas Racing. And Jamie McMurray is out of the 1 Chip Ganassi Racing car, but has been offered another job within the organization. No word as to whether or not he took that job.
Yesterday, Kasey Kahne announced that he is retiring, effective immediately. We already knew that he was hanging it up at the end of the year, but this immediate move comes due to health issues. Ever since suffering from heat exhaustion several races ago, Kasey hasn't been medically cleared to be in a car.
But I don't think that any of the Silly Season stories were as shocking as the news that Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus would not be together after this season. It was announced that Chad Knaus will move over to the 24 car and be the crew chief for William Byron next season. Chad was once a crew member on the 24 team back in it's glory days as a "Rainbow Warrior" when Jeff Gordon was the driver. He was a tire changer and oversaw body development.
As for Jimmie, he signed a three year extension with Hendrick Motorsports last year that has him in the 48 car through the end of 2020. His primary sponsor Lowe's, however, announced that they would be leaving the 48 car at the end of this year. Kevin Meendering will become his crew chief, moving over from JR Motorsports' Xfinity car driven by Elliott Sadler.
Jimmie Johnson, Chad Knaus, and Lowe's have been together since Jimmie's rookie year, 2002, and won 83 races and seven championships.
Steve LeTarte, who worked with Jimmie and Chad at Hendrick, weighed in.