Steve Letarte’s future will include a career filled with endless possibilities.
But the present offers many rewards.
Letarte, 35, is in his final season as crew chief for Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. and will become an analyst next season for NBC Sports’ NASCAR TV coverage. Hendrick Motorsports has been Letarte’s only home in NASCAR.
This season quickly is becoming one of his most successful and especially so with Earnhardt, with whom he has been paired since the start of the 2011 season. Last week, Greg Ives was named Letarte’s replacement beginning next year.
With five races remaining before the 16-driver Chase field is set, Earnhardt has three victories and would enter the Chase as the No. 1 seed.
“The garage is full of great competitors, and the Chase is going to be different than we have ever seen,” Letarte said. “No one knows how it’s going to be, we all have our predictions. We’ll see who is right.”
After Earnhardt’s victory Sunday at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway, Letarte talked about his approach to the rest of the season, turning the crew chief reigns over to Ives and his relationship with Rick Hendrick.
The best advice my dad ever gave me was as I was reading the sports page one day and I was reading the front and he told me to flip to the back, because all the small print in the back, that’s the facts. That’s really what happened. Everything else is just a story and those were the results.
People don’t work at Hendrick Motorsports because we win races. People work at Hendrick Motorsports because they want to work for Rick Hendrick and that’s a big difference.