Letarte, Earnhardt Have Title In Mind
CONCORD, N.C. – This could be the season Dale Earnhardt Jr. wins it all. And if he does, he’ll credit crew chief Steve Letarte to pushing him over the top.
The second season with Letarte calling the shots for Earnhardt’s No. 88 Chevrolet has been a hit – and then some.
Earnhardt qualified for consecutive Chases for the first time. His 17 top-10 finishes in the season thus far are the most in HMS equipment. And there’s that elusive Michigan victory, which broke a four-year drought in June.
“You know, I just think that Steve deserves a lot of credit for our performance. Steve puts a lot into the program,” Earnhardt said of Letarte’s skills. “He’s helped me as a driver. He’s helped me become a better driver. He’s shown me how I can be a better asset to the team inside of the car and outside of the car. I think he’s improved me in a lot of areas.”
Earnhardt has thrived as a true member of a team – something lacking earlier in his career.
“I never really had anybody ask much of me other than bring the helmet, get in, [ask] ‘How does it drive?’” he said. “He’s a lot more detailed and wants a lot more information. It’s just a totally different atmosphere, a totally different culture than I’m used to being around.”
The team has taken the season one race at a time and will continue to do so in the Chase.
“I think you can’t think too far ahead of yourself,” Earnhardt said. “You just got to be smart and try not to make any mistakes or get yourself in any holes early on.”