Alan Gustafson supports idea of possible “warning system” in NASCAR to resolve track limit penalties

Following an impressive top-10 finish at the Bristol Motor Speedway, Hendrick’s Alan Gustafson and his driver Chase Elliot entered the Circuit of the Americas in hot form. The duo was on course for a top-5 finish at COTA before NASCAR slammed them with a penalty.

However, Alan Gustafson has now come out to speak out in support of a possible ‘warning system’ in NASCAR to resolve the track limit penalties.

Alan Gustafson talks on NASCAR track limit penalties

At Sunday’s EchoPark Automotive GP, HMS’ Chase Elliot and his crew chief Alan Gustafson found themselves ‘extremely disappointed’ at the end, after the race stewards placed a ‘pass-through’ penalty on the racer at the Circuit of the Americas, which Gustafson heavily challenged afterwards.

Alan Gustafson has once again addressed Elliot’s ‘top-10 losing’ penalty in a recent interview with SiriusXM NASCAR which the racer got for allegedly violating track limits during Lap 30. He went on to suggest a certain ‘warning system’ to be implemented by the NASCAR hierarchies before slamming such ‘way too stiff’ penalties.

“I’m in favor of some warning system. I feel like the drivers need to know when they’re in infraction and you. We didn’t have any infractions during practice, and then having infractions during the race up until that point,” he told SiriusXM radio.

In the interview, he confessed that Elliot was on the ‘rule-breaking’ side with his ‘pass-through’ maneuvering at the COTA race. However, he also proposed a possible ‘warning system’ that alerts the driver of such actions at least three times in the race.

“Certainly, I think Chase knew he got loose in that situation”, he admitted. “But yeah, I just think you need some warning system that says, Hey! That’s one. you know. In my opinion, maybe three violations with just the– by a pass-through, not one,” he concluded, explaining his proposal. 

Due to this penalty, HMS No. 09, Elliot, saw his ‘inside the top-10’ finish being relegated to a position outside the top-15, i.e., in the P16 spot of the leader’s board at COTA.

These strong words of suggestion from Gustafson come at a time when his driver Chase Elliot is having a satisfying start to the 2024 season with a spot inside the top-10 in the Driver’s table of the Cup Series.

Hendrick Motorsports performance this year under Alan Gustafson

In 2024, Alan Gustafson and Chase Elliot, who have been working together for HMS since 2016, entered into their eighth season in the NASCAR Cup Series, which kicked off with the Busch Light Clash at the LA Memorial Coliseum. These two ran away with a P22 finish from the Coliseum, which is a bit disappointing from their ‘Championship-winning’ standards.

Fast forward to Daytona’s 500 preliminary race named the Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1, the duo earned their season-best finish with a P2 spot at the speedway. The official race at Daytona marked their ‘highest point’ scoring race of the season: a P14 finish with a grand total of 33 points.

Busch Light Clash at the ColiseumLA Memorial ColiseumP22
Bluegreen Vacations Duel 1Daytona International SpeedwayP2
Daytona 500Daytona International SpeedwayP1433
Ambetter Health 400Atlanta Motor SpeedwayP15 23
Pennzoil 400 Las Vegas Motor SpeedwayP1230
United Rentals Work United 500Phoenix RacewayP1928
Food City Dirt Race Bristol Motor SpeedwayP829
EchoPark Automotive Grand PrixCircuit of the AmericasP1621

For the next three races, this Hendrick’s pair saw their finishing positions shifting between the ‘P12-to-P19’ margin. Their next race, the Food City Dirt Race, of the Cup Series delivered their best official finish of the season, as they clinched away the P8 spot and scored 29 points at the Bristol Motor Speedway.

However, their biggest setback of this season came with the ‘pass-through’ penalty at the Circuit of the Americas, which lowered their position by three spots in the Driver’s table. As a result, Chase Elliot, led by Gustafson, is currently sitting in the P9 spot in the 2024 Driver Standings of the NASCAR Cup Series.

As for now, Alan Gustafson will direct Chase Elliot and his No. 9 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 on April 1st, when Hendrick Motorsports travels to Richmond for the 2024 Toyota Owners 400 race.

Will NASCAR even pay heed to Gustafson’s ‘warning system’ suggestion? Can he direct Elliot to the pole position at next week’s race at Richmond? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.


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