home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


November 2, 2020

Jeff Andrews

Alan Gustafson

THE MODERATOR: We are now going to be joined by Alan Gustafson and Jeff Andrews.
We will go ahead and start questions.

Q. Alan, this is Jimmie's last race. I'm curious if there's anything that he did or that the team did that you tried to emulate, especially in this kind of championship run?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Wow, that's a great question.
Yeah, I try to be like Jimmie Johnson every day. He's a really amazing individual, competitor. To think about one thing, it's hard to say. But I think his tenacity, his never‑say‑die attitude is probably the biggest thing.
I can remember he told me a story one time. We were at Kansas Speedway. He was in the middle of his runs of the championships. I can't remember what circumstance we were. We were racing. He said one of the biggest lessons he learned in his career, he started the Chase off really bad, I don't know if they had crashes or DNF's, thought they were out of it. He started racing with reckless abandon and ultimately won that championship. He was just describing the fact that you're never out of it and you've got to race every race like it's your last.
That stuck with me for a long time. It was a great lesson. That's something that I'll remember. I think his tenacity, just never‑say‑die attitude, his willingness to just cut loose and race as hard as he can race.

Q. Alan, how important was it to get a Hendrick and a Chevrolet into the finals? It had been a long drought since Jimmie's last title?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: To me, yeah, I think it's important. It's always important. It's what we do, right? I don't know, this year specifically, I can't say for Jeff, but for me, I just felt like we've been right on the cusp for so many years the last three years or so, we needed to get over the edge. You keep swinging at 'em, keep swinging at 'em, finally hit one.
Yeah, I think it was time. Certainly there was some urgency from Mr. Hendrick, from Chevrolet, that we needed to be represented in the championship. I would say every year's important, but certainly the one you're in is the most.
JEFF ANDREWS: I think Alan answered the question well. Certainly for Chevrolet we've consistently gotten to that Round of 8. Getting past that point into the Round of 4 has been very important for Mr. Royce and Jim Campbell and everybody at Chevrolet to get a car to Phoenix, compete for a championship. We were excited to do that, be a part of that for them.
Certainly part of a greater effort in general from Chevrolet here in the last two years to get these teams together, specifically the Childress and Hendrick and Ganassi groups, get everybody working together on different initiatives, different projects, talking to each other.
I think what's happened here in the last eight or nine weeks have been a culmination of that. There's been a lot of working together to accomplish this goal of getting a car to Phoenix, so...

Q. Did you feel that sense of urgency from Mr. H that Alan mentioned?
JEFF ANDREWS: Absolutely. We left last year all very disappointed, and Mr. Hendrick let us know that he was disappointed. It was essentially one of our worst years in quite some time from a points position.
I don't want to say there's nothing worse, but in the past we'd go down to Homestead, to go down there and not be part of that, it's just a totally different feeling after having been a part of it for so many years. To go down there, just kind of not be a part of that, go down there to run a race and be competitive, but for Mr. Hendrick as well, to put him back in the middle of that, we're awful proud.
He's been on the phone all night long. I was getting texts, I'm sure Alan was, at 1:30, 10 minutes to 2 last night. He's excited. He's pumped up. We're happy to go down there, go to Phoenix and fight for him for that.

Q. Jeff, how evenly matched are the four that are competing for the championship, would you say?
JEFF ANDREWS: I think it's an interesting question. I mean, certainly the Penske Fords have been good at that track, talking specifically about Phoenix. No doubt they will be good.
I think from our perspective, when we saw the schedule change, saw we were going to end up at Phoenix for the finale, I think we felt all along obviously we wanted to get a car there, but certainly knowing how Chase runs there, how good he and Alan are there, have been there in the past, that was one that came up on our radar pretty quick.
If we could get to Phoenix, I don't even want to say we've got a shot, we are legitimate contenders. Alan and Chase run very well there. We're excited to get out there.
Obviously I think the 11 car's record speaks for itself through the years here. Personally I'm excited we're in it, of course. I think we've got a great Final 4 going into the Phoenix weekend. I think it's going to be a great show.

Q. Jeff, you wanted all the Hendrick cars in. Is there any advantage to not being like Logano and Keselowski where you have to race a teammate when there's only four running for a championship?
JEFF ANDREWS: I don't know that there's an advantage. Obviously our shop and Alan and the 9 team and those racecars, engines and things, are going to get a lot of attention here in the next three to four days. Not that we would have treated it differently. Given everything that's on the line, sure there is going to be an extra effort here and long nights before we send haulers out the door on Thursday evening.
Yeah, I think certainly having a multitude of cars in obviously helps your chances when you're there at the racetrack. Having one car in, certainly we have a lot of focus now, a lot of resources to put towards that one car here.

Q. Jeff, obviously after this weekend this will be Knaus' final race before he steps into his new role. What legacy does he leave behind as a crew chief?
JEFF ANDREWS: Well, I think he leaves behind probably one of the greatest that will ever sit on top a pit box from his wins and accomplishments. I think for us, the people that work day in and day out with Chad, I mean, he's an extremely strong leader. He has thrived at putting a young group of guys together, young drivers, putting a goal in front of them, building a true team environment. That's something that Chad is really, really good at, in motivating his guys.
From our perspective, we hate to lose that depth on top of the pit box, kind of that strength in building a team. But certainly that's a trait that he's going to bring to us out in the shops, putting groups together, making our group in the shop and making our competition group stronger, getting them focused, getting better racecars at the end of the day to Alan and the teams to go race with.

Q. Alan, this is your first appearance in the Championship 4. What do you think this week is going to be like, this weekend for you going into the race, maybe not knowing how this has worked before, what the experience is going to be like?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, it's not my first actually. It's my second.

Q. My bad. My notes are wrong. First with Chase then. What can your experience bring to Chase as he now shifts from an emotional race at Martinsville going into his first championship contention?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I don't think you can really be prepared for it until you go through it. It's certainly a different situation. He's raced to transfer into the Final 8. He's been in the Round of 8 now I guess, I don't know, for the last three years or four years. He knows what it's like to be in kind of that must‑win situation.
This is really no different. There's a lot of focus on the four cars. That's the majority of the focus from the press and the media and the TV and everybody around. Ultimately you've got to win. You don't have to win, but most likely you're going to have to win to be the champion.
There's a lot of pressure that went through that. Going through this weekend, we can help prepare him for it. Yeah, it's a unique experience. I think you have to go through it to really understand it and learn how to manage it.

Q. Alan, with all the years you've served as crew chief, you've competed against these other crew chiefs, maybe not Gabehart, but as you study yourself, any competitor studies their competition, is there anything that you've seen out of those three guys through the years of competing with them that you picked anything up or pushed you a little bit more to help you become even more successful?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I think all of them are very talented guys. Off the top of my head, I've probably had the most battles or many situations with Paul. Paul is obviously very successful, has done a great job.
I think each one of the crew chiefs have their strengths, each one of the teams have their strengths, and they're all different. Each competitor has a different area that they excel at. It's going to be all about who can optimize their strengths the most, shield their weaknesses the most. It's going to be an interesting part of the dynamic.
I think everybody kind of has tendencies, they have strengths and weaknesses. I think we all know what those are. We'll do the best we can to compete and take advantage of them.
Yeah, I have a lot of respect for all those guys. Certainly it's extremely difficult to get here. You can't do it unless you're at the top of your game. Certainly going to be great competition and looking forward to it.
THE MODERATOR: Alan, Jeff, thank you guys for joining us. We wish you the best of luck this weekend.
JEFF ANDREWS: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297