CONCORD, N.C. -- Alan Gustafson has the same tough mindset as Chase Elliott when it comes to racing expectations.
Gustafson has been Elliott's crew chief since the latter joined the Cup Series full time with Hendrick Motorsports in 2016.
The No. 9 team leader said having a similar attitude is what allows them to mesh well on and off the track.
"I think we get along well, we’ve always gotten along well and we want to do the same things and have the same goals in mind and each other’s best interests in mind," Gustafson told SiriusXM.
"I think a lot of times people try to over-complicate the reality, and the reality is ‘do you or don’t you?’ If you do, then great. It’s good and you learn from that. If you don’t, then you need to learn from that and improve it. It’s fairly straight forward. It’s kind of the way we go about it in general with the 9 team."
Elliott is known to be hard on himself and was frustrated after a wheel issue pushed him toward the back of the pack in Phoenix after he started on the pole position and led for 93 laps.
"I mean, I think if you mess up why are you going to blame someone else," Elliott said in January about being tough on himself. "I expect certain things of myself and I expect to not do certain things at certain times that I’ve done over the course of my career. Unfortunately, you have to learn I guess to get better through that stuff.
"I certainly have an expectation of me that I try to hold myself to and anything short of that, if I know I left something out there or didn’t do something right or cost us a race or a better finish then that’s nobody’s fault but my own and I try to recognize that when it’s on me just because I think that’s the way it should be."
Elliott was able to move back within the top 10 at Phoenix, but finished seventh.
He has earned one top-five finish, two top 10s, one pole position and has led for 186 laps in four races this season.
“We’ve certainly had some fast NAPA Chevys and (we’ve) been able to run up front a lot," Gustafson said. "Led a lot of laps and scored a lot of stage points, but we haven’t been able to translate that into the finishes that we probably deserve. That’s what we got to focus on moving forward is optimizing the finishes and making sure we keep the race better than we have."
Elliott and the rest of the field currently is scheduled to return to the track on May 9 at Martinsville Speedway.