Letarte Joins NBC’s NASCAR Broadcast Team
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — NBC Sports Group’s upcoming NASCAR coverage continues to take shape as another prominent figure from the sanctioning body’s elite series joins NBC and NBCSN’s expanding broadcast team.
Current Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Steve Letarte, who once stood at the helm of Jeff Gordon’s famed No. 24 race team, and now leads the crew behind the ultra-popular No. 88 car driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr., has reached an agreement to join NBC’s multi-platform NASCAR coverage beginning in 2015.
“I’ve always been impressed with Steve Letarte’s interviews, and feel smarter after hearing him break down the crucial elements of each race,” said Sam Flood, executive producer, NBC Sports and NBCSN. “It wasn’t long into our first meeting about this potential role on our broadcast team when I realized that Steve is going to be ‘Must See TV.’”
Letarte will join fellow analyst Jeff Burton and race announcer Rick Allen across NBC Sports Group’s exclusive coverage of NASCAR’s Sprint Cup and Nationwide Series action on NBC and NBCSN, which includes races, pre- and post-race shows, qualifying, and studio programming.
“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,” said Letarte. “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.”
Letarte has worked for Hendrick Motorsports since he was just 16 years old. In 1996, after graduating from high school early, Steve started traveling with the No. 24 race team, driven by Jeff Gordon, as a full-time mechanic and tire specialist. His impressive work ethic moved him up the ranks quickly, assuming the role of car chief in 2002, and then crew chief for the four-time NASCAR Cup Series champion in 2005 when Steve was 26. After five successful seasons with the No. 24 team and Gordon, Letarte embarked on a new challenge and joined Hendrick’s No. 88 team driven by Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Letarte and the No. 88 team started the 2011 season strong by capturing the pole at the Daytona 500, and went on to qualify for the Chase, the first time for Earnhardt since 2008. In 2012, Letarte and Earnhardt combined for their first win together, on Father’s Day at Michigan Int’l Speedway. Throughout the 2013 season, the No. 88 team solidly remained in the Top 10 in points and made the Chase for the Sprint Cup yet again. Steve and his wife, Tricia, live in North Carolina with their two children.