Saturday, January 11, 2014

Goodbye Steve Letarte, thanks for everything

Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images 
When your favorite driver has a crappy season, it’s a horrible feeling. But when your driver has a horrible season year after year, your nerves tend to get shot. Many Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans, myself included, were all at that breaking point. 

But luckily for us, we'd receive some great news the end of the 2010 season, news that has changed Earnhardt Jr. for the better, I feel.

Steve Letarte. 

Hearing that Steve Letarte was going to be Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief was something unexpected. 

After the seasons we had I was hoping this change could be a good one, that having Letarte on the pit box would be something that Earnhardt Jr. needed.

For the first time in what felt like forever, seeing the No.88 contending and actually being competitive was a great feeling; it’s what everyone fan wants to see- their driver actually contending for wins.

Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images for NASCAR
Letarte brought back a fire inside Earnhardt Jr. - a fire that hadn't been seen in a while. Last season, the duo had a bad race the very first Chase race. But even with that one bad race, the duo overcame it and ended the season fifth in the points.

For many Earnhardt Jr. fans it seemed their driver had finally found that crew chief, the one that truly was the best for him. But unfortunately sometimes all good things must come to an end.

I won't lie. Hearing the news that after the 2014 season, Letarte is stepping down from the pit box and moving to the NBC booth in 2015 was a little sad to hear. The era of Letarte and Earnhardt Jr. is coming to an end. An end for which I’m not sure I’m ready.

Even though this will be the last season with Letarte I have a feeling that if the No.88 is anything like it was the last final races, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with. I have no doubt the No.88 is going to be a huge contender this season.

Though there's still a season to go, I'll say it now. Goodbye and thank you, Steve. Thank you for putting that fire back in Junior. Thanks for everything you've done these past years. Going to miss you on that pit box, but wishing you the best at NBC.

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