2010 Holiday Wishes from Chad Knaus

What an amazing Christmas gift… awareness about SMA from Chad Knaus!!


Holiday Wishes

Author:Chad Knaus

When you’ve had a year like mine, it’s hard to come up with a holiday wish list. Winning a fifth consecutive championship is about the best present you could get. And winning it the way we did and having to compete down to the last lap made it even better.

So for this holiday season, my wish list will focus on what I’d like to give everyone else.

First, I’d like to wish all the people on the No. 48 Lowe’s team a happy holiday and fantastic New Year. We’ve had a great year together, and next season will be even more incredible.

I’d also like to wish happy holidays to all of the teams at Hendrick Motorsports. We’re one big family, and it will be exciting to watch our family grow and succeed together next season.

For all of the NASCAR and Jimmie Johnson fans out there, I hope next year brings another season of great racing like this year’s. And I hope to see more of you coming out to the racetrack to see the excitement in person.

And I want to wish all of the NASCAR teams, officials and other members of the racing family a great off-season to spend with their friends and families.

Finally, I’d like to wish a very Merry Christmas to two very special little girls: Brielle and Brooke Kennedy. These two amazing little girls deserve an extra special visit from Santa. They are both affected with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is the leading genetic killer of children. Their aunt works at Hendrick Motorsports, which is how I met them. I’d wish for a cure for SMA to help them, and wish that I can continue to help raise awareness and funds for their cause.

Happy holidays everyone! See you in Daytona!

"Betting on Brielle and Brooke" -Team Lowe's Track Record Magazine

August is SMA Awareness month! Brielle and Brooke are featured in an article with Chad Knaus inside the Lowes quarterly racing news magazine called, “Track Record.” This magazine goes out to 750,000 homes! That’s right, SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND homes!!! What great awareness! Thank you Lowes & Chad for helping us raise awareness about Spinal Muscular Atrophy!!

Betting on Brielle and Brooke


Chad Knaus



Usually, the only gambling I do is on two tires versus four during a pit stop, or maybe on fuel mileage.  But I had an opportunity recently to bet on something far more important – at a casino night to benefit Brielle and Brooke Kennedy.

Brielle and her sister Brooke are both affected with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), which is the leading genetic killer of children.  Their aunt works at Hendrick Motorsports, and that’s how I met them.

The girls are adorable.  They’re very cute and very sweet. They’re extremely resilient and tough little ladies.  They definitely touched a soft spot in my heart and I wanted to help them any way I could and get some awareness out there.

We just held a poker tournament for them and a number of drivers and crew chiefs came out. We were able to raise a lot of money for these little girls and for SMA.

It’s really nice to be able to help this family.  It’s such a rare disease, and to have two little girls in that family affected by it, is just terrible.  I like the fact that I can help to a degree, and wish I could help more.

One exciting thing is that we’re looking for ways to help them with a wheelchair accessible conversion for their van so they can travel easier.  The poker night went a long way in raising money for their van, so we plan to have it for them soon.

They usually come to the Michigan race, so hopefully I’ll see them in the fall.  They all came to the race last year, and it was great to see how much they enjoyed it.  I had a chance to give Brielle a tour of the transporter, introduce her to some drivers and even put her in the racecar.  I knew our day was complete when she wished me luck on the race.

If other people would like to make a donation for these great little girls, they can contribute to:

Friends of Brooke & Brielle 

P.O. Box 740

Mattawan, MI  49071 

It’s an honor for me to be able to help this family and to see the progress of Brielle and Brooke.  It’s a bet that’s paying off in the most important ways.

Online version of the article:


Brielle and Chad Knaus.

Chad Knaus's Three Wishes - Sporting News

Sporting News’ 50 Most Beautiful People:  Chad Knaus


Sporting News asked that question of readers, fans and those who cover the sport, and the results weren’t limited by traditional definitions of beauty. The editors considered fan favor


Who are NASCAR’s most beautiful people?

The sites and sponsor favorites and gave them points, and they also awarded points to “those were were making waves in the sport.”

The results of this non-traditional approach are now out with the publication of NASCAR’s 50 Most Beautiful People. The special edition is now available on newsstands and at the online store at www.streetandsmiths.com.

SceneDaily is running the list, with one person from the top 50 to be featured each day. Only the top selection was ranked, with the rest following in a random order that allows fans to decide who should be ranked where.

Today’s installment features Chad Knaus, four-time NASCAR Cup championship crew chief with the No. 48 Hendrick Motorsports team of Jimmie Johnson.

Born: Aug. 5, 1971
Birthplace: Rockford, Ill.
Current residence: Cornelius, N.C.

In his words:
First job: I was washing cars in a used car dealership. I was working at a detail shop. I was 13 at the time, maybe 12.

Last year … [We won] our third straight [Cup] championship.

Pet peeve: I’d say, uncleanliness. I like things to be clean and neat and orderly. I’m a little anal retentive, a little type-A.

Can’t live without … my job. It’s everything I live for. I have a great group of guys. I have a great job. It’s definitely the one thing I’m most proud of and wouldn’t want to be without it.

Life-changing moment: We had a plane crash that took the lives of many who were very close to us. That was probably the largest reality check. It made me realize there’s a lot more to what we do and it means a lot more to people than what you may think. Watching the Hendricks go through what they did, it makes you understand relationships with people and understand love and what they mean to you.

In 10 years … I hope that I am married with a child or children and healthy and still involved in the sport.

Vacation: I typically will go to an island, somewhere where I can go scuba diving or snorkeling.

Best race track/city: Obviously Las Vegas is fantastic. It’s a cool city; there’s a lot going on. The facility at the track is awesome, and it’s very fan friendly. But they’ve (race tracks) all got their little twists. Infineon is cool. It’s a neat area. It’s beautiful with the mountains and the vineyards. I like going up there and staying at the winery. A lot of fans like that. There’s the going up and doing the wine tasting and there’s a lot of great restaurants. It’s a lot of fun.

Three wishes: My first wish would be to have a good wife and family. A successful family relationship — that would be awesome. My second wish would be to help kids. A friend of mine has two daughters who have spinal muscular atrophy (a genetic disease that causes muscle degeneration and weakness); if I could help them, I would. And my third wish would be to get three more wishes.

Chad Knaus and Brielle at Michigan International Speedway.

Racing Towards A Cure - FightSMA

Sarah Kennedy had just given birth to her second daughter last December when her 16 month old daughter, Brielle, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) type II. Five days after hearing this devastating news, her husband Eric was deployed to Afghanistan with the Army. While they were apart, Eric and Sarah were forced into action to determine how best to care for Brielle and also to deal with the possibility that the new baby, Brooke, may also be affected by the disease. While Eric was deployed, Sarah tackled the heavy work of contacting doctors and therapists and creating a plan for Brielle’s treatment and on top of all that, decided to have Brooke tested. When Brooke also tested positive for SMA type II, she was enrolled in the “Prospective Phase I/II Study to Evaluate Effects of Sodium Phenylbutyrate in Pre-symptomatic Infants with Spinal Muscular Atrophy” (or “STOP SMA”) study being conducted by Dr. Kathryn Swoboda at the University of Utah, with funding from FightSMA.

The extended Kennedy Family became involved with the larger SMA community, participating in fundraisers and contacting their Congressional Representatives about the SMA Treatment Acceleration Act. Sarah’s sister in North Carolina, Christen, introduced her co-workers at Hendrick Motorsports to SMA. After meeting Brielle for the first time at a race in Michigan, (with Christen’s help), Chad Knaus, the crew chief for three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion driver Jimmie Johnson, became interested in this little known disease and asked what he could do to help raise awareness.

Chad started by adding informational links about the disease to his personal website, but recently he has gone a step further. Chad will be sponsoring a hole at the upcoming Jimmie Johnson Foundation Annual Golf Tournament and has chosen to include the FightSMA logo on the sign posted at the sponsored hole. We thank Chad Knaus and the Jimmie Johnson Foundation for including FightSMA and for this wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of SMA.

Courtesy of FightSMA.  View the article here.