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November 1, 2020

Alan Gustafson

Ridgeway, Virginia

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by our race winning crew chief, Alan Gustafson. Congratulations on heading to the Championship 4.
We'll get right into questions.

Q. On the pit stop when your jackman came back to the wall, you were aware of that? Is that something you drilled into those guys?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I mean, we were certainly aware of it. I can't take the credit for coaching that into those guys. I think that credit goes to Chris, our pit department. They did a good job of instructing those guys, T.J., what to do.
It's a new rule. Man, I want to say it's new this year or last year. It's certainly an adjustment that NASCAR has made to give those guys a little bit of forgiveness if that was to happen.
Yeah, they did a great job. It was a huge moment in the race. Certainly we didn't need the mistake. For T.J. to have the wherewithal to go back to the wall and reset was great.

Q. How much stress was there tonight with the way it was going up and down?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I mean, it's an intense race. It's a lot of fun. This is a great track. It's a good place to do this.
For us, I had my mind made up we were going to have to win. I didn't really see any way to get in on points. Especially when the 2 and the 11 and some of those guys did a fairly decent the first stage, it was going to be all about winning the race.
We were able to do that fortunately. That was our focus. We didn't get too caught up in the back and forth of it.

Q. The rule said you have to reestablish yourself to the wall. Did you know you just need to touch the wall? Is that an interpretation that NASCAR described to you or your pit coaches?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Basically, yeah, yes. I don't know the exact language they described it to us. Yeah, you just got to get back on the wall, your foot back on the wall.
I don't think it's a judgment call in my opinion. I think it's pretty straightforward. He did what he was supposed to do, took the time to reset. It's the way the rule is stated.

Q. What do you think this win means not for next week but for Chase and your team in the years going forward?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: We've been trying to take this step now for the last two or three years. I feel like we've been really ready to do it, able to do it. We just have not done it when it mattered. Today we were able to.
We were able to overcome some pretty tough circumstances at Texas, come here really in a must‑win situation. Being able to do it was great. It's great for the team. Super proud of those guys. Everybody at HMS essentially delivered. Brand‑new car, great car. Tons of speed obviously. Great engine. Pit crew did what we had to do. Yeah, it's a good day.

Q. I heard you get pretty hot about guys running in to you purposely to try to cut the tire using the fender. That's always been a practice in short‑track racing. Is there any way to police it?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: I think it's self‑policing, in my opinion. There's a couple guys that consistently do it, at least to us. You just get tired of getting raced that way.
Yeah, I was pretty upset about it. If that ultimately was a tire rub, would have cut our tire down, it was going to get ugly in a hurry.
It happens, right? I get it, you're racing. I think you see guys when you're racing them, things happen. You might get into each other. When it happens consistently from the same person, you're just over it.

Q. What do you believe sets the No.9 team apart from the other three championship contenders?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Well, our objective is to have the fastest car. That's going to be the key. That's certainly what we're going to try to do. I think the person with the fastest car has a significant advantage in the race. That's what we'll focus on trying to do. That's going to be our objective.

Q. Chase mentioned the importance of he called it to be able to perform when you have no choice. Would you agree with that assessment as an accomplishment tonight?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, it's a tough thing to describe. I'm trying to think of the best way.
You have one shot. I mean, that's it, right? I never played in the Major Leagues or whatever, but you think about the World Series, you're up to bat, this is it, right? Bottom of the ninth, two outs. It's up to you to make it happen.
Those pressure situations in sport are great. I think that's what draws so many fans and gets everybody so excited. It's such a special moment. That's what you have to do. You have to be able to deliver. That's it, it's your last shot. It's time to go, time to do it. There's no tomorrow.
To be able to do it, like I said earlier, I felt confident we had to win. All week I didn't have any designs of anything but winning. We knew that was what it was going to take. The competition is too good to make up 25 points in a race. That's just not going to happen. We knew we had to win. Everybody did.
It's a huge effort. You see what goes on here at the track. What you don't see is everybody in the shop midnight Friday getting the car ready to go, making sure every single circumstance in the car is as good as it can be, putting their hearts and souls into it.
That's a huge thing for us to be able to pull it off.
THE MODERATOR: Alan, thank you so much for taking the time to join us today.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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