Tuesday, November 9, 2010

What Jeff Gordon's crew chief thinks of his on-track tussle with Jeff Burton

   While at a news conference on Tuesday to address the pit crew swap between Jimmie Johnson's No. 48 team and Jeff Gordon's No. 24, Gordon's crew chief, Steve Letarte was also asked several questions about his driver's on-track scuffle with Jeff Burton during Sunday's AAA 500 at Texas Motor Speedway.

   What did you think of your driver's boxing skills?
   Letarte: I'm proud of him for this: There are a lot of people in the world or in the media who question his gumption and how hard he wants to be here. He didn't get wrecked running third; he got wrecked running in the back. We needed to get better. He was that disappointed getting wrecked running in the back because he wanted to race that race out. He has faith in this race team and I have faith in him. While it may not have been obvious on TV, we were starting to move in the right direction. I am proud of him. I think that's what this race team meant. We haven't laid down all year long, we're not going to lay down now.

   Was what transpired surprising to you?
   Letarte: After the year we've have had, nothing would surprise me.

   Were you glad to see him as he kind of went at it?
   Letarte: I'm just glad to see he's upset. Anytime I make a bad call, I'm sure he's glad to see I take it hard because he knows how much I really care. It's no different when something happens on the race track. I like to see his emotion. Our team likes to see his emotion. It's great because it's not the old days and the driver doesn't come to the shop seven days a week and hang out with the guys and you have very little interaction with each other because we all have huge responsibilities. I think anytime you see a guy like him who is so clean cut and such a good driver and he shows his emotions, it fires everybody up and everybody knows how much he really cares.