Steve Letarte has taken his final bow as a NASCAR crew chief, and now, the future NASCAR on NBC analyst is opening up about his time at Hendrick Motorsports.
In the first part of a two-part “exit interview,” Letarte talked about several topics including the impact that Rick Hendrick has had on him both personally and professionally, and having the chance to guide two of the sport’s superstars in Jeff Gordon and, most recently, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Letarte recognizes how important both drivers have been to him in regards to racing, but is especially thankful to know them as good friends.
“My favorite memory is that not all of my memories are with the Jeff Gordon that you folks know,” Letarte says in the clip. “It’s not with the Dale Earnhardt Jr. that Junior Nation knows. They’re with Jeff and Dale – two good friends of mine, one that I grew up with from a very young age who managed stuff in his own personal life while I was managing mine, [with whom] we’ve had probably as many conversations about life as we’ve had about race cars.
“And that’s really the fondest memories…When Jeff and I are driving to Rockingham in 2000-whatever, just spending time together. Dale and I are the same way. Those are relationships that have, professionally, have catapulted me to these [new] opportunities.
“I think I’m gonna do a great job for NBC and do the best job I can – and I think my personality helps, but it doesn’t hurt when you’ve worked for Jeff Gordon and Dale Jr. And I realize that. And I owe a lot to them. But, to be honest, I owe way more to them as the people than I do [to them] as race car drivers.”
For the full Part One of Letarte’s exit interview, check out the clip above. Part Two is expected to be posted online Tuesday.