NBC Sports broadcaster and former Nascar crew chief Steve Letarte expressed an amazing amount of pure, unforced excitement recently over a sprint rubber adjustment during the Cup race.
|Steve Letarte--French for "Steve The Tarte"|
“Look—they’re packing-in the new spring rubber!”, Letarte said to an audience of millions, “this could be the kind of move that could win or lose a race, they have to get that car working better, and this just might do it!”
Letarte has frequently shown the kind of enthusiasm for track-bar adjustments, tire air pressure changes, and splitter repairs most broadcasters reserve for game-winning touchdowns, buzzer-beater three-point-shots, and last-lap passes for the win in Nascar itself.
“This—THIS, is huge, guys”, Letarte told his fellow broadcasters, who appeared to be more focused on the race at hand than the spring rubber insertion, done to improve on-track performance by a small amount. “Can they make this car run better than it did before?!? Not only do they have to improve this car’s handling, but they need to make sure they’re not going to fall too far back with this longer-than-usual pitstop!”
Letarte has been the target of criticism from some fans for his fast-talking style and oddly-placed emphasis on the seemingly-mundane. However, Letarte defended himself in a post-race discussion.
“Look, as the former crew chief, I’m there to provide the technical analysis of the race”, Letarte said. “We have Rick (Allen) to call the race, Jeff (Burton) to provide the driver’s perspective, and I’m there to point how the stupendousness of a pit stop made a lap earlier than the rest of the field. For anyone who listens—really listens—to our broadcasts, they know that a spring rubber not only can make the difference between a 12th and a 15th place finish, but can also have an impact on a driver’s career comparable to winning multiple gold medals in the Olympics.”