For the very first time considering that 2014, Steve Letarte will certainly be a NASCAR Cup Series team principal. On Wednesday, Spire Motorsports introduced that because of normal team principal Ryan Sparks remaining in COVID-19 method, Letarte will certainly take his location for Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, functioning the #7 of Corey LaJoie. Two unrevealed staff member are additionally incapable to take a trip to the track for the very same factor.

Letarte is best understood for his operate at Hendrick Motorsports, acting as the team principal for Jeff Gordon from late 2005 to 2010 and also Dale Earnhardt Jr. from 2011 to 2014. He won 10 races with Gordon, consisting of a historical runner-up period in 2007, and also 5 with Earnhardt. His last year as Earnhardt’s team principal saw both rating 4 success that included the Daytona 500.

“Due to COVID-19 protocols, Ryan Sparks, Crew Chief for Spire Motorsports #7 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE, will be unavailable to participate in Sunday’s Dixie Vodka 400 and will not travel to Homestead-Miami Speedway. Additionally, two other members of the #7 team will be inactive this weekend in adherence with the same directives,” checked out a declaration from Spire. “Veteran NASCAR Cup Series crew chief, NBC Sports analyst and Spire Motorsports consultant Steve Letarte will call the race in Sparks’ absence for the team and driver Corey LaJoie.”

After the 2014 period, Letarte tipped far from the pit box to end up being a colour analyst for the returning NBC’s NASCAR protection, and also he has actually operated in the cubicle along with Rick Allen and also Jeff Burton and also as an expert for the network considering that. However, he additionally continued to be associated with the sector appropriate as a professional for Spire, whose co-owner Jeff Dickerson collaborated with Letarte as the watchman for Gordon. Spire Motorsports additionally keep a technological partnership with Hendrick.

Sparks complied with LaJoie from Go Fas Racing to Spire in between the 2020 and also 2021 periods after formerly functioning as a designer at Richard Childress Racing. In the initial 2 races of the year, LaJoie ended up 9th and also thirty-first. Specifics of the COVID-19 method were not divulged, and also factors can vary from favorable examinations to speak to mapping. LaJoie will certainly begin Sunday’s race in twenty-fifth.

Spire are not the only group affected by pandemic-related orders getting in Homestead. Fellow Chevrolet and also Hendrick ally Chip Ganassi Racing‘s owner received a one-race ban from the garage area for violating NASCAR’s COVID procedures throughout last Sunday’s occasion.