FONTANA, Calif. — When a crew chief shows up to the track in a sling, it naturally begs the question — what happened?
For Alan Gustafson, crew chief of the No. 9 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet for Chase Elliott, that was the reality he was confronted with Friday at Auto Club Speedway after a mountain biking accident.
California is known for its outdoor adventures, and Gustafson is an active person and enjoys riding his mountain bike whenever he can. He had no idea a solo mountain bike ride around Laguna Beach, California, would turn into an urgent care visit and a new accessory to his crew chief uniform.
“I wrecked my mountain bike while riding in Laguna,” Gustafson told NASCAR.com. “It was pretty gnarly. I have a torn AC joint and a hairline fracture in my clavicle, along with no skin left on my arms and elbows.”
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After the spill, Gustafson was forced to walk the 2.5 miles back off of the trail, carrying the bike. His next stop was urgent care — and then some sleep.
“Getting dressed this morning was pretty hard, and don’t get me started on the shower,” Gustafson said.
The injuries didn’t prohibit the crew chief from being here first thing Friday morning when the garage opened. It is a normal business weekend and an opportunity to get the No. 9 into Victory Lane for the first time in 2020.
“Not much they can do for it,” Gustafson said. “Surgery, or leave it alone and it can heal itself. It’s a race weekend so here I am, and I’ll be fine.”