Alan Gustafson Reveals What Chase Elliott and the #9 Team Are Doing to Avoid the Fate of Bubba Wallace’s Fate

Published 07/05/2022, 5:10 PM EDT

One of the biggest criticisms of the Next Gen era in NASCAR has surely been the pit road problems that the single lug nuts have caused. However, there are two sides to that coin. One is the drivers, like Bubba Wallace whose season has been defined by pit road errors, and the other, drivers like Chase Elliott who haven’t faced as many problems on the pit road.

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But how is that? What is the difference between the #9 team’s pit crew and that of the #23?

Well, this was something, something very simple but quite complex as all simple things are, that the crew chief of the Hendrick Motorsports driver, Alan Gustafson recently described.

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“It’s practice…continuing to practice and trying to improve. It’s really a new thing for all of us,” he said.

Simple. But difficult.

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Crew chief of Chase Elliott on the pit process differences from last year to this

After describing the one thing that has been key to their success on the pit road with Chase Elliott, Gustafson went to reveal how this season’s pit stops are different from last season’s.

“The difficult thing this year from last year, you could kind of have a countdown and you could see one lug nut, two lug nuts, three lug nuts, and then four, and typically the jackman would drop on four and you’d hope that you’d get five but if you don’t, the wheel’s not gonna fall off,” he said.

“It might incur a $10,000 penalty, but it’s not the end of the world.”

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May 29, 2022; Concord, North Carolina, USA; NASCAR Cup Series driver Chase Elliott (9) pit crew at work during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Mandatory Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

According to the crew chief, in the new system, the lug nuts aren’t visible and their engagement with the wheel doesn’t happen very quickly. So if one waits for it to get tight, they lose a lot of spots.

In the end, Gustafson emphasized on practicing a lot.

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“Just a lot of practice,” he added.

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Shaharyar Khan Chauhan

1419 articles

Shaharyar is an F1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for a better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

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