LONG POND, Pa. (July 30, 2010) -- Crew chief Steve Letarte has signed a multi-year contract extension with Hendrick Motorsports, the organization announced Friday.
Heading into Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Pocono Raceway, the 31-year-old Letarte has guided Jeff Gordon and the No. 24 DuPont team to 10 wins, 21 runner-up finishes, 77 top-five finishes, 108 top-10s and 14 pole positions in 174 races. Gordon's second-place and top-five finishes during that time rank as the most among all drivers (teammate Jimmie Johnson ranks second in top-fives with 76.)
"I'm extremely excited," Letarte said. "Hendrick Motorsports is the only company I've ever received a paycheck from. I've worked here since I was a teenager, and they've provided wonderful opportunities for me. I owe a lot to them. I'm really excited to be extended here so I can go a few more years."
Letarte, a native of Portland, Maine, has been involved in the No. 24 team on almost every level, starting as a parts assistant while attending high school in 1995. A year later, Letarte was full-time with the No. 24 crew. He went on to work as a tire specialist, mechanic and car chief, winning three of Gordon's four NASCAR Sprint Cup Series titles under the tutelage of crew chiefs Ray Evernham, Brian Whitesell and Robbie Loomis.
Near the end of the 2005 season, Letarte received the ultimate promotion when then-crew chief Loomis left for a spot at Petty Enterprises. Letarte stepped onto the pit box as the crew chief for Jeff Gordon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sept. 18, 2005. Six races later at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway, Letarte led the No. 24 team to Victory Lane and picked up his first win as a crew chief. The No. 24 team finished the 2005 season, scoring five top-10s in the last six races with Letarte at the helm.
Since then, Letarte has played a role in helping the No. 24 achieve several milestones. Notably, in 2006 at Infineon Raceway, the team made history after Gordon scored his ninth road course win – a Sprint Cup record. In 2008, Letarte helped extend Gordon's streak of 16 consecutive seasons with a pole position when he picked up his first at Texas Motor Speedway. The team also scored its first victory at the 1.5-mile Fort Worth, Texas, oval earlier that year in April.