Thursday, November 25, 2010

11.24.10 - Earnhardt Jr. Issues Statement Regarding Hendrick Motorsports Team Changes

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2010) -Hendrick Motorsports announced yesterday Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the No. 88 AMP Energy/National Guard Chevrolet in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, will race with new team personnel starting in 2011 as part of a three-team organizational swap.  Steve Letarte, crew chief on Jeff Gordon's No. 24 team for the past five years, will become Earnhardt Jr.'s new crew chief.  Earnhardt Jr. issued the following statement to his official website,, in response to the changes announced on Tuesday:

"Rick Hendrick is someone I trust wholeheartedly, and any decision he makes inside or outside his organization is something I support.  He is a 10-time champion owner, and that speaks directly to his ability to lead.  I am committed to give Steve Letarte and the new team 100% of my effort.  I spoke with Steve last night, and his enthusiasm really pumped me up to the point I wish we were going to the track this weekend.  I really enjoyed working with Lance (McGrew), and I want to thank him and everyone on that team for their hard work.  I've had a lot of fun with that group, and we'll continue working together to make all the Hendrick Motorsports teams better."

Some more info on crew chief change

So here's a little background info on Steve Latarte:

Letarte is a 16-year employee of Hendrick Motorsports.  He took over crew chiefing responsibilities for four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jeff Gordon in mid-season 2005 and led the No. 24 team to 10 victories and 14 poles, including a six-win season in 2007.  Joining the No. 24 team as a tire specialist in 1997, Letarte served in multiple capacities during his progressive climb to crew chief, earning three Cup championships during that time span.

Now for the first time in his decorated career, Letarte begins work on cars other than those with the No. 24 on its side panels, although he won't have to leave the familiarity of his race shop or team to do it.  Essentially, Letarte's shop, cars, and team members will stay the same; it is the driver, sponsor, and car number that is being assigned to him, which in this case, translates to Earnhardt Jr., Amp Energy/National Guard, and the No. 88.

Long revered as a "people person", the 31-year-old Letarte took time on Wednesday, Nov. 24, to meet with the media and introduce himself to JR Nation via

To watch a video where Steve introduces himself, click here:  Steve Latarte introduces himself to JR Nation

Ford 400

Dale had issues with handling on his car all day. I'm not sure where he started but I know he finished 27th. I know this season, like last season, did not turn out at all like any of us had hoped it would, but I personally am very proud of Dale for never giving up. So here's to next season!! I'll keep you all updated on any happenings as I always do. Have a great holiday season and see you at Daytona!!


Well, I had a feeling a crew chief change was coming for Dale, but I never knew it would be this much of a change for the whole organization. I'm not just talking about crew chiefs, but according to HMS' website, the 24/48 and 5/88 teams are moving around as well. Read below to find out more.....

Hendrick Motorsports makes personnel adjustments for 2011
CONCORD, N.C. (Nov. 23, 2010) – Hendrick Motorsports has made personnel adjustments in preparation for the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, with drivers Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr. being teamed with new crew chiefs.
Below are the driver-crew chief pairings for each Hendrick Motorsports car, effective immediately:

No. 5 Chevrolet
Driver: Mark Martin
Crew Chief: Lance McGrew

No. 24 Chevrolet
Driver: Jeff Gordon
Crew Chief: Alan Gustafson

No. 48 Chevrolet
Driver: Jimmie Johnson
Crew Chief: Chad Knaus

No. 88 Chevrolet
Driver: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Crew Chief: Steve Letarte

The cars of Martin and four-time Sprint Cup champion Gordon will be fielded out of the same facility, now known as the 5/24 shop. Earnhardt Jr.'s Chevrolets will be prepared out of the renamed 48/88 shop alongside those of five-time and defending Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

"This will improve us as an organization, across the board," said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. "We had a championship season (in 2010), but we weren't where we wanted and needed to be with all four teams. We've made the right adjustments, and I'm excited to go racing with this lineup."

I personally think that Steve is happy being in the same building as Chad, since that's where he's been since becoming the crew chief for the 24. So JR Nation let's make Steve feel welcome. We know he's gotten the job done with Jeff and I'm certain he will do the same with Dale Jr!

Sunday, November 21, 2010


As I did on the other blog I will continue to support Brad Keselowski. He drove for Dale Jr for two years and has become one of the most talked about drivers in the series today.

I also want to say how proud I am of Danica Patrick for the time and effort she put into learning how to drive the Nationwide car this year. I can't imagine how insane her schedule was while the Indy season was going on at the same time as the Nationwide series. From what I understand, she is coming back next year and I can't wait to see the progress she will make.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Latest on possible crew chief change for Dale Jr

#88-Dale Earnhardt Jr. says it's not a no-brainer that he gets a new crew chief before the 2011 season and that no one person is responsible for this season's failures. "I'm not certain what's going to happen," Earnhardt Jr. said after Friday's qualifying for the season finale at Homestead. Earnhardt is 19th in points, having missed the Chase for the second straight year and third time in the past four seasons. He has only three top-5s and eight top-10s a year after recording a career-worst two top-5s and five top-10s. Earnhardt has only one win since Lance McGrew was named his crew chief in the middle of 2008, at Michigan. He is mired in a career-worst 92-race losing streak. But Earnhardt believes this season has been better than last year's which he called the worst of his career before this race. He's just not sure what has to happen to turn things around. "It's pretty obvious we aren't very good and we need to do some things to get better,'' Earnhardt said. "It's obvious that's where we are. I don't think it needs to be over-analyzed or anything like that.'' Earnhardt said he asked team owner Rick Hendrick to let the season end before making a decision on any potential changes to his team. Even then, Earnhardt doesn't know how much input he'll personally give. "I've dove into those deals headfirst in the past,'' Earnhardt said. "I'm not doing it this time. I obviously haven't had too good of an effect on the last couple of changes I've made. Maybe I'm not the person to be in there making those kinds of decisions. I don't want to have any effect on whatever that decision is. I've enjoyed working with Lance. I've enjoyed working with this team. We try really hard. They try really hard. No one person has failed this season.''

Taken from

Kobalt Tools 500

Dale started 31st and had a strong car which helped him move towards the front and finish in 14th at Phoenix.

Today Dale qualified 22nd for the final race of the 2010 season, I can't believe it's over for this year already! Will NASCAR have a new name as champion after this weekend or will Jimmie make history again? We'll see how it all plays out!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

AAA Texas 400

I wasn't home on Sunday so I'm not sure what happened with Dale's car. He started 22nd and finished down one lap in 25th. This weekend the guys head to Phoenix and I'm excited to see how the Denny/Jimmie/Kevin race will end. As far as Kyle getting penalized by NASCAR, I think he deserved what they gave him, if not more. Kyle Busch fans wonder why no one like him, and Sunday was a perfect example. Well, that's all for now. Oh yeah, one more thing, Dale Jr has a different paint scheme for this Sunday. If I can get a pic of it, I'll post it. See ya later!