Newsletter Signup

CONCORD, N.C. -- Crew chief Alan Gustafson had nothing but praise for Chase Elliott after the No. 9 team celebrated its first win of the season Thursday night.

Gustafson revealed the past few races have been frustrating but his belief that Elliott would win was never shaken. Gustafson made the call to keep Elliott out in the final laps of Thursday's 310-mile race, which was the opposite call made at the Charlotte 600. 

"I have the utmost confidence in (Elliott)," Gustafson said. "I think he's the best driver out here and he's showing it. (Sunday's race) was -- there's a lot of factors that went into it. Our struggles earlier in the race probably influenced me more than I should have let it, and it didn't work out."

Elliott's victory was the ultimate redemption for Gustafson and the No. 9 team after Elliott finished second in Sunday's race. He said Elliott starting in 19th due to the inverted positions from Sunday's event was a road block to overcome, plus some minor issues with the No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE.

"Our car I don't think was quite as fast as it was the other night and a little bit too free, so we suffered there a little bit and tried to improve it, and I think we got it better," Gustafson said. "... At the end there, Chase made some adjustments, we adjusted on the car and he was able to pass Kevin (Harvick) to win the race. It was a great day for us."

Gustafson doesn't have much time to revel in the victory -- there is a two-day span until the next race at Bristol Motor Speedway. Like Elliott said after the win, Gustafson doesn't want to get overly confident heading to the .533-mile track.

"I don't really feel like there's much from any of the tracks that we've raced that's going to correlate to Bristol," he said. "It's its own animal.  I'm excited to get there and race it. The dynamic of the track changing and rubber and the grip compound and no practice ... it's going to be significant there. That'll be a pressure cooker. It'll be fun."