During a break this week during testing at New Hampshire International Speedway, NASCAR's most popular driver, Dale Earnhardt Jr., raised an interesting issue during a discussion of how his crew chief, Steve Letarte, has influenced his career as a driver.
Earnhardt had not experienced much success at Hendrick Motorsports before he was paired with Letarte and said the pairing may have been "my last straw" at HMS.
Here is Earnhardt's complete answer to the question involving Letarte:
"He's just a common
factor and a friend and I trust him a whole lot and believe in what he does and
believe in every move he makes and makes me feel comfortable behind the wheel. I
don't question the cars, I don't question the preparation, I don't question our
initiative or motivation and our determination. I've never felt more confident
and being able to depend on my team, especially after we've been able to work
together for years and have just gotten better and better. It's been an amazing
experience and he's a big part of that," Earnhardt said.
"We took off, before we ran our first
race. I think that we really had an agreement that we were going to do this
together and make it work. We both kind of needed each other in the moment. He
was coming off kind of frustrating seasons with Jeff (Gordon) and both of them
kind of needed a new start, so me and Steve both definitely maybe deserve each
other. I'm glad it's worked out the way it has and I knew that when we got
together that it was kind of my last straw. We'd been through so much, I'd been
through so much, so I needed to get something going and fast. It couldn't have
been a better or a more enjoyable few years than what I've had the last few
years with Steve."