Chad Knaus and Jimmie Johnson: The Perfect Weekend

M Brian LadnerCorrespondent IOctober 18, 2009

CONCORD, NC - OCTOBER 16: Jimmie Johnson (L), driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, watches lap times with crew chief Chad Knaus (R) during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series NASCAR Banking 500 at Lowe's Motor Speedway on October 16, 2009 in Concord, North Carolina.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR)

In an article published earlier today on Bleacher Report, I wrote about one of the greatest goals, if not the greatest goal, of Chad Knaus' career—the "perfect weekend."

As he has described it in various interviews and on various shows over the years, a "perfect weekend" consists of being the fastest in qualifying practice, winning the pole, being the fastest in both race practices, then winning the race.

He has discussed this as a "goal" as far back as 2004, but defined it even more strongly in an interview with David Newton in August 2006:

"Until we go out there and we have a perfect weekend will I ever think that we've actually completed any type of task," said Knaus.

It seemed most fitting then that this weekend, at the final race the Concord venue will be known as Lowe's Motor Speedway (Lowe's is not renewing its track sponsorship), Knaus, Johnson, and the crew of the Lowe's No. 48 Chevrolet did something they have never done before—they had a "perfect weekend."

Immediately after the race, Knaus was heard to say over the radio, "We just completed the biggest goal of my life, just so you know." Knaus had his perfect weekend.

Johnson talked about the accomplishment in victory lane. "The perfect weekend is what Chad has always wanted to do—win every practice, qualifying, and the race—so we got it."

In the post-race interviews, both were asked about the concept of the "perfect weekend" and if they'd ever come close before.

Jimmie answered that he "wasn't aware of this goal until today. This is a Chad goal."

Knaus replied, "This is a personal goal of mine. We were close twice. We missed it in race practice one time and we missed it in qualifying practice another time."

"Odd that I've been keeping tally on that, but it's true," Knaus continued. "We've been close but haven't quite made it, ever. So it's cool."

The question now becomes, with the biggest goal of his life completed, what's next on Knaus' to-do list?

One answer might be found in Matt Kenseth's response to a question during his post-race interview where he was asked to put into perspective what it means for a Cup driver to lead every practice, qualify on the pole, and win the race.

Kenseth offered the following:

"I don't know, I've never done it. I don't think there's much that team hasn't done. I don't know what leading both practice sessions really gets you besides bragging rights, but besides that I don't know if I've ever had a perfect weekend.  

"I think you have to lead every lap for it to be a perfect weekend too, so he still doesn't have it. Them guys are awesome. Since them two got together, they've been, in my opinion, the group to beat every single year. 

"Whenever it counts and it's crunch time, they do this, and they've done this every year for the last four years, so it shouldn't really be a surprise to anybody."

So there it is—Knaus might have to redefine a "perfect weekend" to one that includes everything it did before (winning all the practices, qualifying on the pole, and winning the race) plus leading every lap of the race.

One reporter then told Knaus and Johnson of Kenseth's statement about having to lead every lap to have a truly perfect weekend. They were then asked if they thought they could go to Martinsville next weekend and pull that off.

Johnson answered slyly, "I guess we've got more work to do."

Knaus answered more simply, "We're just going to go and try to do the best we can, I'll be honest."

Given the way those two have worked together over the years, I wouldn't bet against them pulling off an "even more perfect weekend"—maybe not next week, but someday.