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


August 5, 2018

Alan Gustafson

Watkins Glen, New York

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by the winning crew chief of the No.9 SunEnergy1 Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, Alan Gustafson.

Q. As a crew chief, you haven't won since Jeff Gordon's victory in 2015. Obviously Chase has like a giant relief now that he finally got his first win. Do you feel relieved, also? Does the team feel relieved they were able to get a win, as well?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I don't know if I'd choose the word relieved. You feel satisfied in the work and effort you put in and getting back to Victory Lane is a huge deal, something we want to do much more frequently than we have, obviously, recently. But yeah, I think I just feel satisfied.
It's not been the easiest year for us, and we just kept battling through it and battling through it and getting closer and closer and closer and closer and closer and finally got it done.

Q. What do you think Chase has learned the most through all the disappointments that he's had? This almost looked like it could have been a repeat of Dover.
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, you just never give up, and I think at the end of the day, you do everything you can do with inside your capabilities. We all strive for greatness, and everybody wants to do the best things possible, and you want to win the race or hit the three‑pointer at the buzzer or catch a touchdown, whatever it is. And when it doesn't go your way and you have those opportunities, sometimes that can be deflating. But at the end of the day, you've got to take some solace in what you do, and the fact that you gave it your best and learned from it and moved on, and certainly he has and will continue to do that.
If you learn and you move forward, you don't lose. You've just got to keep going.

Q. Obviously today Chase's first victory, but also ended a 37‑race winless streak for Team Hendrick. Is this a culmination of a lot of hard work that has been going on the last several months? Or because it's a road course, is it hard to put it in the same category?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: No, I think it's a culmination. We've been stuck on 249 for a while, and certainly very aware of that. I know personally, I wanted to get that win for Mr.Hendrick. Was really close to getting the 250th there at Martinsville with Jeff and unfortunately had a late caution and that one kind of stung. We're going through these opportunities to win and not getting that 250, so that was always in the back of my mind.
But I'm glad to get that for him. It's a huge honor to be the crew chief on the car that wins that 250th for HMS. It's absolutely a culmination of a lot of hard work. We haven't been‑‑ I told the guys before the race today, if you go back five months, we were struggling to run 15th, and then we were struggling to run 10th and then 12th and just battling through it, and the last month or so, we've been able to contend for wins and win stages, and that's the culmination of hard work.
I don't think it's a fluke. It's not like we just came off winning 25th. We had a shot to win last week, too. Really proud of the guys and the effort to get us back to this point. I know we're not where we want to be. We've got to get better. But we certainly were the best today.

Q. Happy birthday. How's this for a present?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, it's up there. It's pretty cool.

Q. Amid the 250th win, Chase's first win, is there any relief that you're in the playoffs? It almost seems like that's almost a back story to today or off‑to‑the‑side story.
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, certainly it's good to get a win and get in for sure. It wasn't my primary focus. I thought we had got ourselves in a pretty good points position. We had to be pretty aggressive today on strategy and different things to win the race, so I thought we'd got ourselves in a pretty good points position where we could be a little bit more aggressive and not have to count every point.
You never know until you're in, right, so it's good to get in. I think for me probably a little bigger than that is just trying to stack up some playoff points. That's a huge deal going through this run. We were really close, didn't make it to Homestead last year, and I think if we would have had a few more playoff points, it might have made it a little easier.

Q. Take us through the last couple laps; when Martin was making those charges, are you talking to him, or how much chatter was there, and who's blood pressure was higher, yours our his?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Well, he says his, but there's not much I can do at that point in time. I think the toughest thing for me was I knew we were really, really close on fuel, and I wanted to‑‑ I had a debrief with him before the race about saving fuel at any opportunity, but Martin kind of screwed our plan up, so we didn't get to save much gas, and he put a lot of pressure on us. That was really what was going through my mind was did we have enough to hold him off because by that point in time I kind of felt like we could, but was he ultimately going to run us out of gas. That was tough. So it was pins and needles, and obviously he was really, really close, too, because he ran out. But that was‑‑ I was more concerned about the fuel. That's really more my deal, and I knew he could do it. He just had to not make any mistakes.

Q. Alan, I was just curious if you could talk about the performance of your Chevrolet in particular. The last couple weeks you seem to be finding more speed, which seems to be coming at the right time for you guys.
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, it's a big deal. I'm super proud of the performance of our Camaro and everybody at HMS's work and Chevrolet's work to get the car‑‑ to continuously improve the car. We have some ground to make up and some room to go. But this is a fast‑‑ this is a really fast track. When you think of a road course, you typically think of a little slower speed, but this is a really fast track. I think you have to have everything here. You've got to have a car that drives really well. You've got to have a car that is aerodynamically sound and you've got to have a good engine, and to beat those guys at the track, and ultimately, I feel, like I said earlier, we were the best car today and the best team today, so very satisfying and very proud of everybody at Hendrick Motorsports and at Chevy today, so it's a very good win.

Q. Was there a specific time where you might have seen Chase turn a corner to kind of start gaining confidence and get to the point where you knew he would get beyond just all the second‑place finishes and challenging for wins?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: I mean, to be honest with you, I thought‑‑ Daytona, the very first race we worked together at Daytona, we kind of sucked, but past that, I felt like he could win right away. I felt like he could win every race. I never doubted or thought that he needed to go through any maturation process or any experience to win a race. I thought he could win a race right away.
You look back, and certainly we've had lots of opportunities to do it, and hindsight is always 20/20, and sure, we should have, but there was never any question to me. There was never a pinnacle moment that he turned or learned something or went through something. I thought he was pretty equipped to win from the start.
And you know, I do think not making it‑‑ he can comment on it. It certainly adds a little‑‑ seems to raise the hurdle a little bit. Like it makes it slightly tougher, by it was never what I felt like was insurmountable or something that we couldn't overcome. I just knew we had to fight through it and it was going to go our way, and there was countless races it didn't.
But on my experience, those odds‑‑ the statistics end up evening out, and there's going to probably be some races that we may get that we shouldn't get, right, so you've just got to stay after it.

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