Two drivers – one from the Pioneer Ballot and one from the Modern Era Ballot – and one crew chief were elected Wednesday to become the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s class of inductees in 2024.
Joining the Hall of Fame from the Modern Era Ballot:
Jimmie Johnson:Johnson, aged 47, achieved the same number of Cup championships as Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt, which is seven, making them the joint record holders. From 2006 to 2010, Johnson won five consecutive titles, setting a new NASCAR record. This impressive streak surpassed the previous record set by Cale Yarborough, who won three consecutive titles from 1976 to 1978.
Johnson also won 83 races in a career dating back to 2001 and spanning 689 races. He is a two-time winner of the Daytona 500 (2006 and 2013). He also won four times each in the Coca-Cola 600 and Brickyard 400, adding two Southern 500 crowns along the way.
Johnson started his racing journey on motorcycles and off-road trucks. Later, he transitioned to racing on asphalt, initially in the American Speed Association circuit and then briefly in what is now known as the Xfinity Series. During his time there, he grabbed the interest of Jeff Gordon, a renowned Hall of Famer, who supported his inclusion in Hendrick Motorsports.
Chad Knaus:As a teenager, Knaus guided his father to numerous track championships, indicating his future success as a crew chief in the highest level of stock car racing. He began his NASCAR journey at Hendrick Motorsports, initially working as an assistant in the body shop and receiving guidance from the renowned Ray Evernham, who was part of the esteemed “Rainbow Warriors” team. Knaus experienced a significant breakthrough in 2002 when he was teamed up with Johnson on a fourth Hendrick team, marking the beginning of an incredibly fruitful partnership that would go down in sports history.
The duo achieved a total of seven Cup championships, an impressive record in NASCAR with five consecutive wins. Throughout 19 seasons, they triumphed in 81 races. In 2020, Knaus celebrated his 82nd and last victory as a crew chief, alongside Hendrick driver William Byron. He is ranked third in all-time wins by a crew chief, following Dale Inman and Leonard Wood. Currently, at the age of 51, Knaus holds the position of Vice President of Competition at Hendrick Motorsports.
2016 Champion and race winner Jimmie Johnson, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet with crew chief Chad Knaus
Photo by: Action Sports Photography
Joining the Hall of Fame from the Pioneer Ballot:
Donnie Allison:After being named the Rookie of the Year in the 1967 Cup Series, Allison joined forces with renowned mechanic Banjo Matthews, which proved to be his most successful collaboration. In 1970, Allison achieved victory in three races under Matthews’ guidance, notably the Coca-Cola 600. The subsequent weekend, he secured a fourth-place finish in the Indianapolis 500, establishing a record for the highest combined finish in the two-race crossover that remains unbroken to this day.
Allison, 83, who ended his career with 10 wins and 17 poles in 242 starts, might be best-known for his role in NASCAR’s most famous moment – his 1979 Daytona 500 fight with Cale Yarborough.
Photo by: Greg Gage
Janet Guthrie:The Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR will be given to the pioneering woman who participated in the Daytona 500.
The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be formally inducted in January 2024.
This was the third class determined under the redesigned format for Hall inductions.
There were 10 nominees on the Modern Era ballot and five on the Pioneer ballot – designed to honor those whose careers began more than 60 years ago. Two Modern Era candidates and one Pioneer candidate now compose each Hall class.
Note: Motorsport.com NASCAR Editor Jim Utter is a member of the Hall of Fame Voting Panel. He voted for Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus on the Modern Era ballot; Sam Ard on the Pioneer ballot; and Janet Guthrie for the Landmark Award.