August 5, 1975|
Ormond Beach, Florida, United States
|Sport||NASCAR Sprint Cup Series|
|Team||24. Hendrick Motorsports|
Alan Gustafson (born August 5, 1975) is an American NASCAR Sprint Cup Series crew chief from Ormond Beach, Florida. He began his racing career at the age of eight, by helping his friend race go-karts. He graduated from Seabreeze High School and attended Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University until 1996. Afterward, he worked with several teams, which competed in the Camping World Truck Series and Nationwide Series, before being employed at Hendrick Motorsports. He is currently employed at Hendrick Motorsports as the crew chief for Jeff Gordon.
Born on August 5, 1975, in Ormond Beach, Florida, Gustafson began his racing career helping his childhood friend, Casey Yunick, with their go-karts while eight years old. As Yunick and him grew older they began racing late models and legends cars on local race tracks. Afterward, he helped another one of his friends by working on their Sports Car Club of America series cars. Once he graduated at Seabreeze High School, he continued his education by attending Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University for a mechanical engineering degree and was a member of Kappa Sigma. Even though he was attending college, he continued to help his friends with racing. In 1996, he came to a decision of continuing college, or moving to North Carolina to continue his racing career. He decided to move to North Carolina to work on Gary Moore's Goody's Dash Series team (GEM Motorsports), with his long time friend, Jimmy Foster. He was chosen as the crew chief, while Foster raced. He was also performing engineering duties for the team. Once the 1996 season ended, they recorded one win, along with finishing sixth in the point standings.
Professional racing career
In 1997, he left the team after becoming the crew chief of Andy Houston’s Late Model Stock Car and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (now Camping World Truck Series) team, which was owned by Addington Racing. Gustafson won several races in the Late Model Stock Car Series, while they only participate in a few Truck Series events. One year later he became team engineer for Diamond Ridge Motorsports in the Busch Series (now Nationwide Series). While at the team, he recorded several pole positions and wins. In 1999, he left the team to help his friend Foster in the Busch Series, which they only qualified for one race, which they finished 34th in. Afterward, Gustafson was employed at Hendrick Motorsports to become the 5 car's shock specialist. While there, the team earned three top-five finishes and six top-tens. One year later, with Terry Labonte the driver, the team recorded one top-five and three top-tens, as Gustafson remained the shock specialist.
In 2002, he became the lead engineer for the 5 car. He remained the same for the next three years, which he collected one victory at Darlington Raceway, five top-fives and 19 top-tens. Before the 2005 season, he was announced as the crew chief for the 5 car, driven by Kyle Busch. In the same year, the team won the pole position for the second race of the season, as well as one victory and a 20th points finish. During the 2006 and 2007 seasons, he recorded at least one win in each of the seasons, two Chase for the Sprint Cup appearances, with a best points finish of 5th in 2007. In 2009, Mark Martin became the driver for the team. In the season, they recorded five wins, and a second place finish in points. Martin remained the driver in 2010. For the 2011 season, Rick Hendrick reassigned Gustafson as crew chief for Jeff Gordon and the 24 car, whose previous crew chief Steve Letarte was moved to Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s #88 team in turn. Over the course of the 2011 season, Gustafson helped Gordon back to victory lane 3 times at Phoenix, Pocono, and Atlanta. Gordon tied Cale Yarborough's 83 win mark at Phoenix, putting him 5th on NASCAR's All-Time Win List. Bobby Allison's and Darrell Waltrip's record of 84 wins for 3rd all time was passed as Gordon solely became number 3 with his 85th win at Atlanta. Gustafson also helped Gordon to the 2011 Chase and finished 8th in the final point standings.