HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Chad Knaus has said in the past that being four years older than Jimmie Johnson, there is the possibility that he could retire from being a crew chief before Johnson does as a driver.
But why break up a good thing?
A split looked as if it might be necessary earlier this year when Johnson went on a 24-race winless streak, the longest of his career. But after the two won their seventh Sprint Cup title together Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, it seems as if they might continue for three, four, five or however many years Johnson wants to keep racing.
"[That's] probably the way it's going to roll out, for sure," Knaus said. "It really is. I love him like a brother. He's a fantastic individual."
They have had their moments of sniping at each other on the radio and will continue to do so. That's just the way they operate. But with 80 career victories, Johnson would be stupid to want someone else atop the box.
"Jimmie has taught me more about life than life itself has taught me," Knaus said. "He's taught me about family. He's taught me about relationships. He's taught me about being a champion.
"When we started this thing, all I was was just a racer guy, and he was a cool California kid, and we kind of grew up together. To be in this situation to where we know he's got a handful of years left, whatever they may be, and for Jimmie and Mr. [Rick] Hendrick to want me to stick with the 48 car and be at the helm of this ship -- man, it's flattering."
It's also the right thing to do. At least the results say so.
"Those guys have a unique relationship," said four-time Cup champion and Hendrick Motorsports co-owner Jeff Gordon. "I think if they peeled back all the layers, [they] will tell you they've gone through plenty of emotions and ups and downs and moments where they weren't sure.
"But they've stuck it out and that's what made them so strong and why they're seven-time champions."
Knaus is known to push the envelope, and at times it has bitten him. On Sunday, it gnawed at him as the team's car was pulled from the grid and taken back through inspection for what appeared to be a slight adjustment on one of the posts.
Johnson had to start at the rear of the field, a penalty that has occurred throughout the garage with somewhat regularity throughout the second half of the season. Teams appear willing to take a risk for what could be a slight advantage -- or just keeping up with everyone else -- knowing they have time to work their way through the field.
"It's just one of those deals, dude," Knaus said. "You work. That's what we do. We work. Everybody works out there -- everybody, every single team. ... The facts are everybody is out there, everybody is doing everything they possibly can to try to get every ounce of speed out of their race cars, and we're going to do the exact same thing, just like everybody else."
There could be a reason Knaus needs every ounce of speed out of his race cars. The Hendrick teams were more than a tick behind for much of the year.
"I still don't think that we necessarily had the speed that we need week in and week out," Knaus said. "We've got to get our cars better, for sure. ... We've got some work to do to continue to be able to compete with those guys.
"The one thing we have in our corner is we have Jimmie Johnson. He is the one that makes things happen when we don't necessarily have the race cars. When we do have the race cars that we need, he does phenomenal things."
Xfinity Series: Suarez makes history
Former NASCAR driver and truck series champion Ron Hornaday Jr. helped teach Suarez how to handle restarts better, something that came in handy Saturday when he won the race to capture the title.
"I was horrible at it," Suarez said. "I was the worst ever out there on my restarts. One day I got the opportunity to talk to him. I went to his house.
"He started teaching me some good advice, and after that I really felt like I was a different driver, and tonight, we won a championship and a race because of restarts. I want to thank Ron Hornaday big time for all his help."
Edwards has been impressed with the improvement Suarez has made this year.
"Man, that guy is really impressive," Edwards said. "He's a very nice person, to begin with, and then he just is a hard worker, and if you take the [limited] experience that Daniel has, he shouldn't be running the way he is.
"He's very, very gifted, so I really enjoy being around him."
Camping World Truck Series: Sauter wins one for family
In Milwaukee racing circles, the Sauter name has been tormenting the area short tracks for decades.
Even in NASCAR, the Sauter name has been racing since 1980.
But an individual driver championship has eluded the family in NASCAR -- until Friday night when Johnny Sauter captured the crown.
His father, Jim, and brothers Jim Jr., Jay and Tim all competed in NASCAR.
Johnny himself ran his first national series race in 2001.
"I don't know what it would mean to me until it really happened, but for my family, just validation for -- I don't know that they need validation, but it's just cool," said Sauter, the 2001 ASA champion. "My dad had raced for 40 years. ... So it's just cool to grow up in a racing family, go to so many racetracks throughout the Midwest, and to be a champion in one of the top three NASCAR divisions, that's just something that I hope the family can enjoy."
The Sauter and Shear families have competed against or with each other for decades as well, and Johnny and crew chief Joe Shear Jr. had the magic to win the title.
"Me and Johnny have been together for years and our families have been together for years, and we've raced against each other, and we've won a championship before, and we've just become best friends and worked really hard and been determined," Shear said. "I'm like almost lost for words. This is like really huge and special."