Jimmie Johnson may have 're-upped' with Hendrick Motorsports last year, but crew chief Chad Knaus, an equally important part of the team that has won four straight Cup championships, hasn't extended his current contract beyond 2010.

Knaus, however, is convinced his deal will get done in due time.

"The contract deal will get done at some point," he said, "I'm signed up through the end of 2010, and it's not on the forefront of my mind right now. What's important to me right now is just getting the cars built, getting to Daytona and getting the season back in place. Once the contract negotiations start, then we'll worry about that."

Johnson and Knaus are viewed as an inseparable combination, but Knaus said he could envision working with another driver - just not any time soon.

"We really enjoy working with each other - and why change it?" Knaus reasoned, "Will I at some point work with another driver? Yeah - I mean, more than likely. Will he work with another crew chief? Yeah, more than likely. Let's be honest. He's younger than I am. He's probably going to drive longer than I want to be a crew chief.

"Am I in a managerial role somewhere else doing something, or am I in a managerial role here working with these other teams? At some point, yeah, I'll be working with other people. Do I hope that he's always a part of my relationship with Hendrick Motorsports? One hundred per cent. I'd love for that to be the case.

"There are no guarantees in life. You don't know what's going to happen years down the road. I feel like I've got four to six more years that I can do this, and then that's it. Then I've got to go and do something else. Now, hopefully, that go-and-do-something else is here."
by Reid Spencer / Sporting News NASCAR Wire Service