Published on January 10th, 2014 | by Michael J Smith0
Letarte To Join NBC In 2015
Crew chief Steve Letarte will leave the No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports Chevy and driver Dale Earnhardt Jr at the end of the 2014 Sprint Cup Series season.
Letarte is headed to NBC as a television analyst. He’ll join Rick Allen and Jeff Burton in the broadcast booth for the final 20 races of the Cup series.
HMS owner Rick Hendrick issued a statement:
You never want to see a talented and all-around quality person like Steve [Letarte] move on, but we understand this is an exciting opportunity for him and his family. He has all the tools to be a terrific broadcaster, and I know our fans will enjoy hearing his perspective. We’re looking forward to a successful year in 2014 with Steve and Dale [Earnhardt Jr] leading the #88 together. They have some of the best chemistry in the garage, and we know they’ll build on last season and continue to be a championship-contending team. We don’t expect to address the crew chief position until after the season. Everyone with the team is focused on 2014 and committed to having another great year.
As soon as I met with Sam Flood and his team at NBC Sports it became obvious to me how excited they are to be covering NASCAR in 2015 and beyond. Their excitement, along with my love for racing, solidified my decision to move away from the pit box and into the broadcast booth. I want to thank Rick Hendrick and everyone at Hendrick Motorsports for the opportunities they have given me over the last 18 years, and I want to reaffirm my commitment to Dale Jr. and the entire 88 team to go win races and challenge for the championship in 2014.
Update: Dale Earnhardt Jr said:
[Letarte] actually included me in on the discussion before the end of last year, and I had a pretty good understanding, whether he knew or not, what he was going to do. I had a pretty good understanding what his decision was going to be when I left Homestead. So I’ve had time to really wrap my brain around it. It was hard because we are such good friends, and I really do enjoy working with him a lot. But at the same time I’m happy for him because it gives him the opportunity to spend time with his family.