ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed his signed a contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports: WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR THE REST OF...
ALAN GUSTAFSON, CREW CHIEF, NO. 5 HENDRICKCARS.COM/GODADDY.COM CHEVROLET, met with members of the media at Richmond International Raceway and discussed his signed a contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports:
WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR THE REST OF YOUR LAUGH? "(LAUGHS) Win a lot of races and live until I am 130, that is my goal."
WHAT IS THE LENGTH OF TERM OF YOUR CONTRACT? "Four years."
IS IT YOU UNDERSTANDING THAT IT IS WITH THE NO. 5 CAR? "What it is for is for is it for Hendrick Motorsports. I am going to work at Hendrick Motorsports. As far I am concerned, I am going to retire there so that is what I am going to. Whatever it takes for us to be successful, that is what I want to do. Beyond that, no matter what it is, where I need to fill, what role I need to fill to help make this team the most successful, that is what I will do."
DOES THAT MEAN SWEEPING FLOORS? "I might be sweeping floors; I am pretty good at it. I am a good landscaper too. I can make that place look good."
HOW HAPPY ARE YOU TO GET THIS BEHIND YOU? "Extremely. I love this company, I love working for Hendrick Motorsports. I love Rick Hendrick, everything he has done for me and my career. To continue that on in the future is everything I wanted. Like I said, I want to retire here, that is really my goal professionally to be able to contribute to Hendrick Motorsports and make it a top-notch successful organization that it is and take it in to the future. It is a great opportunity for me and I am really blessed to have it."
WHAT WOULD YOU LOVE TO DO? "I am doing what I love to do. I truly love what I do. I love Hendrick Motorsports more than I love crew chiefing. Whatever it takes for that company to succeed. I love going to work there every day. I love the people. I love my boss, it is a great situation so, whatever that is, is fine by me. It is something I am really happy about and I really feel blessed to do and be able to wake up and go to work in a place that you really believe in and you stand behind. To work for a great boss like I've got, it is just a dream come true."
ARE SAYING IT IS POSSIBLE YOU WON'T BE ON THE NO. 5? "I believe No. 5. I have been here for 11 years. It is something I have put a lot of effort into. It is something I take a lot of pride in that team. I have been with those guys for a long time. I want to be with them for a long time in the future. But, who knows where it is going to go or where the future goes. I don't know. All I am saying is I am going to do whatever I have to do to help keep this company successful. Whatever that is, I don't know. I don't think any of us can sit here and project the future. My goal right now is to win a championship with the No. 5. That is what I started out to do. That is what I have always said from day one. Those are my goals. If I don't that, I feel like I have fallen short. I have a good opportunity to do it and I am going to push hard to do that. When that happens, hopefully that will happen, when that happens, who knows what goes on there. Right now that is what I am focused on doing."
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ABOUT KASEY KAHNE? "I love Kasey. I think he is a great driver. I don't know him all that well but I love the way he races on the race track. I think he is a great fit for our organization. I think he is a great fit for the No. 5. I think he has the potential to go win a lot of championships and a lot of races. I think it would be a great opportunity to work with him. He can put Hendrick Motorsports and the No. 5 in a good position to carry on what Mark has helped us build. I think he is a great fit, he is a great person, a great race car driver so I think that all will work out well."
ARE THE PROVISIONS IN YOUR CONTRACT THAT MIGHT SEND YOU TO STEWART-HAAS OR DOES IT KEEP YOU AT HENDRICK? "To be honest with you, I didn't read it. I just signed it, so I don't know. I am not worried about that. Mr. Hendrick has always been...I didn't read it, but you know me, I didn't study it, I didn't go through all that stuff. Mr. Hendrick has always been above and beyond, he has gone above and beyond for me, so, I am not concerned about it. I haven't even thought about it to be honest with you."
IS YOUR GOAL TO STAY WITH THE NO. 5? "My goal is to stay with Hendrick Motorsports and that is what I am going to do. That is what I want to do. I don't know what Mark's (Martin) plans are for the future so I couldn't say anything about that. But unless Rick Hendrick sells these cars, then I would say this is where I will be."
DOES IT BOTHER YOU THAT YOU HAVE WORKED WITH SEVERAL DRIVERS UNLIKE OTHER CREW CHIEFS WHO HAVE HAD LONG RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR DRIVERS AT HENDRICK? "I don't know that switching drivers, if I were to step back six years ago when I started crew chiefing and say I want to work with this many different drivers, I don't think that was goal. I think if things had worked out perfectly according to plan, that you want that relationship where you are with the same guy for multiple years and you race your career and it makes things maybe a little bit easier. But the opportunities I have had have been great. They have helped me become who I am. I am a better crew chief for it today. I am a better person for it today. Like I say, I don't know that was the perfect outline, but I wouldn't change anything. I think it has all worked out great for me. Mark Martin is a perfect example of that. Being able to work with him. Six years ago, I would have never thought I would have had that opportunity. It has been the greatest years of my career working with Mark and I think it is awesome and I wouldn't trade that for anything."
WHAT KIND OF MANAGEMENT GUY DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD MAKE? "I don't know. I think you have to ask Mr. Hendrick that, he would probably be a better judge of that than me. I just try to do the best I can in whatever position I'm in. Whatever that is, that is what I will do. You just fill your role. I think that is important. People don't put enough emphasis on people who fill their roles to the best of their ability. That is what makes great teams great is guys that fill in wherever they have got to. I want to be one of those guys. I don't want to be a guy that Mr. Hendrick says "what am I going to do with him." I want to be the guy that can help Mr. Hendrick and take some stuff off of his mind and he knows I will do whatever it takes to succeed."
WITH YOUR SUCCESS, DID YOU HAVE A LITTLE MORE LEVERAGE THIS TIME? WHAT DID YOU LEARN THIS TIME? "I know you are going to think I am pulling your leg, but it is no different than it has been in the past. I'm not a person looking to say 'hey this is what my contract says, this is that or you have to do this or you have to do that'. I am there to do a job and I do that job to the best of my ability. If there comes a day when management doesn't feel I am suited for that job, regardless of what that contract says, that's fine. I don't look at it that way. I have 100% confidence in the organization. Like I said, Mr. Hendrick has been unbelievable to me, my career, my family. Everything I have ever done with him has been beyond my wildest expectations. I have no reason to believe any other reason and I won't. We have a great personal relationship and I'm sure it will be above my expectations just like it always is."
WOULD YOU BE WILLING TO CREW CHIEF THE NO. 88? "If that what Mr. Hendrick and the management at Hendrick Motorsports deems to be the best fit for the company, yes."
-source: gm racing