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This the key factor in the fate of Jimmie Johnson's career.
A relationship between a driver and his crew chief is vital to the success of the team. Questions about the working relationship between Jimmie Johnson and crew chief Chad Knaus came up multiple times during the 2011 season.
The 2011 season was a display of tension between Johnson and Knaus. Johnson was getting frustrated with Knaus' ways of motivation, and it showed on the track.
Then the question of trust has to be asked with the checkered past of Chad Knaus. Coming into the 2011 season, Knaus was suspended twice in his career for illegal modifications to Johnson's race cars.
At Talladega last year, Knaus was caught on camera and audio talking to Johnson before racing telling him to break the rear end if they won the race. Since then, NASCAR has kept a close eye on the No. 48 car.
Now Knaus is facing another suspension for illegal modifications to Johnson's car that were made when Speedweeks started in Daytona. Knaus lost the initial appeal, but he's going through another appeal process.
This is something that can't keep happening. Johnson needs his crew chief at every race. If Chad can't stay out of trouble, can Jimmie Johnson win a championship with another crew chief?
It's tough to win with a different crew chief after years of great success. Ask Jeff Gordon upon Ray Evernham's departure from Hendrick Motorsports.