Chase Elliott’s NASCAR Team Mechanic Lauds Crew Chief Alan Gustafson’s Leadership and Hendrick Environment

Published 01/19/2021, 11:10 AM EST
AVONDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 08: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, and his crew chief Alan Gustafson pose for a photo after winning the NASCAR Cup Series Season Finale 500 and the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series Championship at Phoenix Raceway in Avondale, Arizona. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)


A key component in any team sport is the quality of leadership. It makes the entire unit tick in both the good and the bad times. One entity who certainly knows a thing or two about leading people is Hendrick Motorsports’ No.9 Crew Chief Alan Gustafson, who is atop the pit box for Chase Elliott.

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Serving as Chase Elliott’s reliable advisor on the track, Gustafson finally tasted Cup Series success last year.  The efforts that the entire No.9 team had put in saw it culminate into them going all the way to lift the championship title.

Elliott’s mechanic, Michael Carber, recently talked about the environment in the team. In the process, he praised Gustafson’s leadership and the fact that he ‘trusts the process’.

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Alan Gustafson trusts his people, says Hendrick Motorsports mechanic Carber

Speaking in an interview, Carber stated, “I mean that’s what I always say about the 9 group. You know it’s, it’s not micromanaged, Alan trusts his people.

“He trusts the process, and I think that’s what makes it successful. It just, you let the people do their work and everything. That’s from Chase, that’s from you know, nothing’s critiqued.”

Elliott himself has talked about a solid understanding between himself and the 45-year-old Crew Chief in the past. Their insistence on doing the basics right, believing in each other, and building a foundationally sound relationship paid dividends after all.

The Gustafson-Chase Elliott partnership will have to strategize on defending its crown

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Carber continued, “Everyone just does their job, and it’s a well-oiled machine, it just rolls. Doesn’t matter if you put new faces in it. I mean you showed it there was so many new faces this year and you guys still won the championship.”

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Chase Elliott, driver of the #9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet, stands in the garage with crew chief Alan Gustafson during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series 61st Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Winning the title certainly deserves credit, but a greater task is securing it again to defend their title. In 2021, the entire Hendrick Motorsports No.9 team will have a similar challenge on their hands.

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With a desire to attain more success widespread across the team and Elliott gaining further experience as a driver, achieving the task is certainly possible. Keeping that in mind, it will also be intriguing to see whether Gustafson’s leadership methods will continue to bear fruit or not.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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