July 4, 2021
An Interview with:
THE MODERATOR: We're joined by our race-winning crew chief, Alan Gustafson.
We'll open it up for questions for Alan.
Q. After what happened in qualifying, were there any concerns not about Chase coming from the back, but mentally the frustration over that?
ALAN GUSTAFSON: I wasn't really concerned about him, no. Just there's a lot of danger. It's super easy to get caught up in somebody else's mess. Obviously we had to pass pretty much everybody at some point in time, which isn't what you ideally want to have to do.
I think the biggest concern was just not getting wrecked or getting damage. At Pocono, we had both of our races ruined with damage, the first race right off the get-go. That's something that can really happen easy back in that position. That was really my biggest concern, is just surviving the first few laps. That was our focus, is to kind of let it string out. Then there was that quick caution. Yeah, after that I think he was okay.
Q. We've talked to you many times about Chase's road course prowess. He's now won on five different road courses. Can you talk about what that says about his adaptability, versatility.
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, for sure. I mean, I think I've said this before, I think he's a very intelligent race car driver. I think that's what puts him in a really good position at road courses where there's a lot to process and a lot that goes on. It takes him a bit of time to kind of get all that put together and figured out. When he does, it's not just a feel, he knows what he's doing. There's a lot of thought and process behind what he does. It's very repeatable.
Then throughout the day, I think he iterates and improves. He's really a fantastic driver, period. Really great at the road courses. This is a really challenging track. It's got that old school feel, which the gravel is right there, the runoff is small, the risk is high. You have to be really, really calculated.
It just speaks to how smart and methodical he is. He just improved through the day and took very little unnecessary risk coming from the back, like I mentioned, which was a big risk for us. Kept the car in one piece. We knew he had a good car. We didn't know it was that good based on yesterday. We knew certainly we have a platform for the road courses, it runs really well. Had to take care of that. He did an amazing job with it, yeah.
Q. What was going through your mind when Bowman got into the back of the 5? If the caution comes out, then all bets were off.
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Yeah, I don't know. I mean, Alex is doing everything he can do. He did a great job. I don't know exactly, but he was right there at fifth place. He was running really, really well. Did a great job all race. You certainly don't want him -- I'm super selfish. You're like, Stop, don't race. You know it's his job, right? What do you do?
I'm sure he feels terrible that he got into the 5. Looked like he got deep wheel hopped or something. Then the 5 was just like, Get going. Fortunately Alex didn't have a flat tire.
But those are tough circumstances. Hey, man, those guys do a great job. We've got great teammates. Guys that we genuinely like to race with. It happens. Not what any of us wanted to see. It's not what he wanted to see or the 5 or us certainly. Fortunately for us, it didn't impede our progress.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Alan.
ALAN GUSTAFSON: Appreciate it.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports