ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — A Rockford native could be part of NASCAR’s next Hall of Fame class. Chad Knaus is one of 15 nominees for the Class of 2024 released by NACAR on Tuesday.

Knaus has been nominated in his first year of eligibility. He won seven NASCAR Cup Championships as a crew chief setting a record. He also set another record by winning five consecutive Cup Championships as a crew chief.

Knaus is a 1989 graduate of Rockford Jefferson High School. He began his racing career as a boy working on his dad John’s pit crew at the Rockford Speedway. After graduating from high school, Knaus moved to North Carolina where he worked his way up the NASCAR ranks. He eventually became part of Jeff Gordon’s “Rainbow Warriors” pit crew helping Gordon win two Cup Championships.

In 1997-98 Knaus became a crew chief with Dale Earnhardt Inc. for driver Steve Park and then Darrell Waltrip. Knaus held several other crew chief positions as the years passed. In 2002 he became a crew chief for Henrick Motorsports with the Lowe’s Chevy #48 team. That was the year Jimmie Johnson signed on to drive the #48 car as a rookie. Knaus and Johnson then formed the most successful duo ever at NASCAR’s highest level. They won seven Cup Championships and 81 Cup races.

Currently, Knaus works as Vice President of Competition for Hendrick Motorsports overseeing the technical development of Hendrick’s cars while also overseeing all crew chiefs, pit crews, engineering and assembly.

The other nominees for the NASCAR Hall of Fame on the Modern Era Ballot are Jimmie Johnson, Neil Bonnett, Tim Brewer, Jeff Burton, Carl Edwards, Harry Gant, Harry Hyde, Larry Phillips and Ricky Rudd. Only two of the nominees on the Modern Era Ballot will be elected this year.

Nominees on the Pioneer Ballot (those whose careers began more than 60 years ago) are Donnie Allison, Sam Ard, Banjo Matthews and Ralph Moody.

Nominees for the Landmark Award are Janet Guthrie, Alvin Hawkins, Lesa France Kennedy, Dr. Joseph Mattioli and Les Richter.

The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel, which consists of 61 people, will meet to discuss and vote for the Class of 2023 on August 2. There is a 62nd vote which belongs to the fans. Fans can vote by going to