Chad Knaus, crew chief for five-time Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson, provided an interesting perspective on how he and his No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team approaches the Chase each season.
Actually, it was more about what they don't do. They don't do anything different then the rest of the season. Knaus thinks teams get into trouble when they try to alter their approach once they make the Chase.
Speaking with the authority of five titles in his pocket, Knaus may know what he's talking about.
"Everybody thinks once you get to the Chase, you've got to ramp everything up. Being part of the No. 48 car, you're expected to win every single week, so we really can't prepare any differently. I think going to the race track each week, whether it be Martinsville or Richmond or Atlanta, wherever it may be, we put as much effort into the race cars as we can week‑in and week‑out," Knaus said.
"Once we get into the Chase, we really can't do anymore. We're really operating in our comfort zone. Where I think what happens to a lot of the other teams, it takes them out of the comfort zone. They try to do more. They try to push that further. They do things that are outside the norm. I think that's where usually people get in trouble."