Letarte Named Crew Chief

CHARLOTTE, N.C.- - Steve Letarte will take over as Jeff Gordon's crew chief starting with this weekend's race in Loudon, New Hampshire. Letarte, 26, previously served as car chief on the DuPont Chevrolet having worked his way up the ranks within the team. Letarte will become the fourth crew chief of Gordon's Cup career. "To have a chance like this with Hendrick Motorsports is incredible,” Letarte said. “I couldn’t ask to work with a better driver or a more talented group of people. I’m committed to continuing the winning tradition of this team, closing 2005 on a positive note and pushing toward Jeff’s fifth championship next year.” Letarte replaces Robbie Loomis who will be returning to Petty Enterprises as its executive vice president of race operations. “I’m sad to see Robbie leave,” Gordon said. “We made a great team and had more wins ahead of us, but the Pettys presented him with a fantastic opportunity. For him, it was time for a change and I’m happy he’s found the right fit. I’ve worked with Steve for more than 10 years and we already communicate extremely well, both on and off the track. The team has a ton of confidence in his abilities, so we’re looking forward to the last 10 races of 2005 and getting an early jump on next year.” Loomis had been a crew chief with Petty Enterprises from 1992-1999 before joining Hendrick Motorsports. He will remain as a consultant to the #48 Lowe's team for the final 10 races of 2005. “Hendrick Motorsports opened my eyes to a whole different level of this industry," Loomis said. "The experience has allowed me to see things from a new perspective and learn important lessons about business and life. I’m truly grateful to Rick, Jeff and the 500 people who make Hendrick Motorsports so special. I was with the Petty family for 11 years before being blessed to work with Jeff and the team. Kyle and Richard (Petty) are giving me an incredible opportunity to come home, back where I started my career, and I’m honored and excited to do that.” Team owner Rick Hendrick said Letarte was the obvious choice to replace Loomis. “When we first talked about this possibility before the season started, Steve’s name was the first and only one discussed," Hendrick said.

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