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Letarte Rumors Explained
At Jeff Gordon's media availability Friday at his transporter, the driver was asked the following question about crew chief Steve Letarte, who is in a contract year at Hendrick Motorsports: "Last week it was reported that Steve has been in talks with Rick, but how much of a role are you going to play in getting him back, and what conversations have you had with Rick about that?"
Rick, of course, is team owner Rick Hendrick. The transcript of the interview that was distributed at Darlington, however, presented the question this way: "Last week it was reported that Steve has been in talks with Red Bull [Racing]. ..."
Though no one could locate reports of Letarte talking to Red Bull, reporters began chasing the story -- until the error was discovered Saturday morning.
"That's how rumors get started," Letarte said Saturday in the garage.
With recent contract extensions for Hendrick crew chiefs Chad Knaus and Alan Gustafson, attention has turned to Letarte, who hasn't re-signed yet. Gordon said he isn't worried.
"Oh, would you guys settle down!" he said to reporters. "It was a week ago that Chad and Alan signed, and nobody was asking any questions about Stevie. And now all of a sudden it's like they're signed, so why isn't Steve signed? He's going to be signed. Everything is going really good.
"He and I are getting along and doing better than we ever have, and his commitment to this team is showing every weekend just how good he is, and that's not going to change. So if I was trying to get him signed, he would have been signed already. It's a process that goes on at Hendrick Motorsports, and I'm not really involved with it."



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Steve Letarte
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