UPDATED (4:30 p.m. ET): Multiple reports have now confirmed that Daniel Knost, Danica Patrick’s ‘interim’ crew chief for the final three races of the 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, will be her full-time crew chief in 2015.
Late last year, SHR opted to swap crew chiefs for Patrick and fellow driver Kurt Busch. Patrick’s former CC, Tony Gibson, was announced as Busch’s CC for 2015, but Busch’s former CC, Knost, was instead dubbed as an interim CC for Patrick that could be pushed to a full-time role.
Prior to today, SHR had not confirmed if Knost would be the full-time crew chief for Patrick and her No. 10 GoDaddy-backed team.
But Patrick’s comments on the subject before last night’s GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile, Alabama (where she took part in the coin toss and presented the trophy to the winning Toledo Rockets) appeared to signal that Knost would get the nod.
“I think something new is both scary but also exciting,” she said to AL.com’s Tommy Hicks. “Until you go there, you don’t know how great it could be. We [she and Knost] worked together a little bit at the end of last season. I think that was a really good thing to do in preparation for 2015.
“Everybody at Stewart-Haas has been working very hard to make sure that every team is as good from top to bottom as possible, and we’ll probably have some changes for next year within the team, but it’s like I said, you never know what you can have until you dare to try something different.
“Daniel is a very smart guy and I’m excited to see what we can do.”
Following SHR’s swap, Patrick finished 36th at Texas, 22nd at Phoenix, and 18th at Homestead to close out 2014 with Knost as her CC. As for Busch, he finished eighth, seventh, and 11th in those same events with Gibson.
Knost made the jump from engineer to crew chief last season with Busch on the No. 41 team, and the two scored a Chase berth-clinching victory in the spring at Martinsville.
But consistent results for the pair were largely missing, with occasional Top-5 runs breaking up stretches of mediocre finishes. Busch was then knocked out of the Chase in the opening Challenger Round.
In the lead-up to Knost joining the No. 10 team as interim CC, Patrick noted that his engineering-based background may end up fitting well with her.
“…He’s definitely like the kind of engineers – in fact, in IndyCar, it was called an engineer instead of a crew chief – that I was used to dealing with,” she said in late October. “We’ve gotten along anyway whether he’s been on my car or not. I’m definitely open-minded and looking forward to the opportunity to see how it will go with him.”
Now, that opportunity will indeed continue into the upcoming season.