Jerry Markland/Getty Images
“Chase is a really good kid,” Gustafson said. “He’s a really good person. That’s his demeanor. I think he’s very respectful. I think he always treats people how he wants to be treated and ultimately races people how he wants to be raced and races in a very respectful manner.
“At times, it’s potentially too respectful. I think what transpired at the end of the year shortened his fuse and got him to a point where he felt like his philosophy or attitude was being taken advantage of. I don’t disagree with his opinion, and I think that changed his outlook on how he was going to race.”
Perhaps the feud with Hamlin won’t carry over into 2018, but expect Elliott to come out with an edge this season. He came very close to winning on numerous occasions, but he fell just short of reaching the championship race at Homestead.
If Elliott is going to break through and win his first race and ultimately compete for a title, he might have to unleash more of what fans saw in the last couple of races.