Jeff Gordon and Alan Gustafson have their sights set on a Wild Card entry in the Chase (Getty Images photo)
Jeff Gordon's crew chief Alan Gustafson talks about the No. 24 team's win Sunday at Pocono and a possible run to the Chase as a Wild Card entry.
Gustafson was a guest on SIRIUS/NASCAR Radio's "The Morning Drive" and discussed Gordon's 86th career Sprint Cup Series win, the direction of the race team and their chances this weekend at Watkins Glen:
Looking like the Jeff Gordon of the old there, what a power move and it won in the race.
Yea it was great. It was a really great day overall, we didn't really have a good qualifying run and started 27th. There weren't many cautions, many one or two but we were able to drive through the green and put ourselves in position after that restart. The key to me is obviously Jimmie and those guys having their issues, but Jeff got a great restart and was able to clear Kasey and get down there to the bottom and that was the winning move in my opinion or else he would have been on the outside right in the middle of it.
Not that we want you to give away any state secrets but how did you go from 27th to the front of the field like you said Alan with not many cautions to do any work on pit road?
We had a really good car and Jeff did a really great job driving through traffic. The one thing abut Pocono, I know it gets shut out but you can pass there if you have a good car and when you catch guys you can pass them. We had a good car and a great day on pit road, which always helps. I think we underachieved qualifying, I don't think we should have started that far back. The car was really good, I'm just really proud of the guys we've had really fast race cars the past 6 or 7 weeks now, It was key to getting ourselves in contention in that last restart.
With that being said having those fast racecars the last month and a half, how hard is it to watch all the stuff that happens to you guys? Because I would say this is one of the hardest years Jeff's had, probably you've had in Cup?
What's so hard about it, you kind of touched on it is I think that if I was to sit back and say ok, if I asked what year did my cars perform the best, this would be one of the best if not the best as far as performance and speed goes. The you look at finishes and they're kind of the polar opposite, we've not got near the finishes nearly as highly as we should compared to what we run on the racetrack and how we've run on the racetrack, and its really frustrating. The good news is it's usually difficult to have the speed and performance and you can kind of fix the rest and we've been able to do that recently. At the beginning of the year, we've had some issues we've created and we've had some issues that are kind of out of our control but it was nice to have a solid day for the team and get a break.
How were you able to keep everyone feeling good about things and knew that once things turned around you had strong racecars and you were maybe able to fight your way out of this thing?
It's a tough situation to be in I'm really proud of Jeff and the guys for sticking together and not pointing fingers and not throwing their arms up in the air. Its tough because there's so much pressure, a lot of comments, outside influences and you just have to put it that all away and put it all out of your mind and keep on improving each and every week and sticking together as a team and fighting together as a team. Having faith in that, sometimes its tough to do not getting the success you think you deserve, the guys did a great job with that, Jeff was a big part of that. If we wouldn't have stuck together, we wouldn't have been in position to win that race on Sunday.
Are you a guy that believes in momentum and if so do you believe that you have some going into the race at Watkins Glen this weekend?
Yeah I do believe in momentum, attitude is a huge part of the sport and momentum helps generate really positive attitudes and helps empower you to feel like you can do anything so its always nice to take advantage of that. But, there's two sides to every coin, It can be a disadvantage if you feel like oh now we've won a race, we are in the wild card spot, we can just maintain now, I don't think that's the case. We've got to go in Watkins Glen and be just as aggressive and focused as we were going into Pocono and compete really hard because I know the guys who are racing for wildcard they're the best in the business. We're racing with Carl (Edwards), Kyle (Busch), and