By STEVE REED
AP Sports Writer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Jimmie Johnson and former crew chief Chad Knaus, who combined to win a record-tying seven Cup Series championships, were selected for the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Wednesday.
They will be joined by longtime driver Donnie Allison, who was voted in on the pioneer ballot.
Johnson, 47, is considered one of the most successful race car drivers in history.
The induction ceremony for the Class of 2024 will be held Jan. 19 in Charlotte.
Johnson’s seven Cup Series titles tie him with Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt for the most in NASCAR history, and his run of five consecutive championships from 2006 through 2010 remain a series record. He also won titles in 2013 and 2016.
Johnson’s championships came amid an era of change for NASCAR, as he earned titles amid a variety of championship points formats and three different generations of race cars.
Nicknamed “Superman,” Johnson had a knack for coming up big at NASCAR’s biggest races, winning all of the sport’s crown jewel events at least twice. He won the Daytona 500 in 2006 and 2013, four Brickyard 400s (2006, ’08-09, ’12), four Coca-Cola 600s (2003-05, ’14), two Southern 500s (2004, ’12) and four All-Star Races (2003, ’06, ’12-13).
Johnson’s 83 Cup wins rank sixth-most in NASCAR history behind Hall of Famers Petty (200), David Pearson (105), Jeff Gordon (93), Darrell Waltrip and Bobby Allison (both 84), and they came at 20 different tracks.
Knaus was with Johnson throughout that wildly successful run.
Knaus, 51, came to Hendrick Motorsports as an assistant in the body shop, learning under Hall of Famer Ray Evernham as part of the “Rainbow Warriors.”
In 2002, he was paired with Johnson, then a rookie, on a fourth Hendrick team, beginning one of the most productive partnerships in sports history. Knaus, who currently serves as Hendrick Motorsports’ vice president of competition, trails only Dale Inman and Leonard Wood for all-time wins by a crew chief.
Allison won 10 Cup Series races during his career.
The 83-year-old Allison was a member of NASCAR’s famed “Alabama Gang” and an ambassador for the sport for more than 50 years. After winning the 1967 Cup Series rookie of the year, he partnered with mechanic Banjo Matthews and won three races in 1970, including the Coca-Cola 600.
But Allison is perhaps best known for his role in one of NASCAR’s most famous moments — his 1979 Daytona 500 fight with Cale Yarborough during the sport’s first nationally televised race. An intense battle for the win ended with both drivers wrecked and scuffling in the infield. The publicity from the altercation spurred the growth of NASCAR and remains one of the defining moments in the sport’s history.
Former driver Janet Guthrie was named the Landmark Award winner for her outstanding contributions to the sport. Guthrie became the first woman to compete in a NASCAR Cup Series superspeedway race when she drove to a 15th-place finish in the 1976 World 600.