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HMS Legend Confesses to Being Proven Wrong by Martin Truex Jr’s Crew Chief Late Race Gamble That Paid off Incredibly: “I was nervous”

Published 05/02/2023, 3:11 PM EDT

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Getting rewarded for taking risks is an incredible feeling—something that Martin Truex Jr and his crew chief must be feeling lately. The Joe Gibbs Racing driver has put an end to the 54-race winless streak and given the Truex family another thing to celebrate this week. But if the winner has anyone to give credit to, it is James Small, Truex Jr‘s Crew Chief.

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Apparently, even former Hendrick Motorsports crew chief Steve Letarte had his doubts about #19 team’s bold move. A two-tire change from the entourage is a very bold move to make. Letarte admits that this was a moment that raised many eyebrows, but the gamble certainly paid off.

Steve Letarte reveals that he was “scared to death” at one point


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Speaking with Nate Ryan on the NASCAR on NBC podcast, Letarte mentioned how the one decision from Truex Jr’s team that surprised him ended up turning the race around for him. He congratulated the victor, saying, “Congratulations, first of all, and I was absolutely wrong. I was scared to death when you rolled off with two tires miles ahead of the other cars comin’ off pit road.

“I thought you could have took four tires, I thought you should have took four tires. And here you are, standing with the monster trophy.”


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Starting on his trusted Toyota Camry, Martin Truex Jr exceeded expectations and won at the Dover Motor Speedway against all odds.

Two Months after Nearly Jeopardizing His Cup Series Chances, Helpless Chase Elliott Reveals How He Tread through “Uncharted Territory”

Steve Letarte sheds light on the suspense behind the move by Martin Truex Jr


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The moment Truex Jr emerged from the pit road, quite a lot of spectators were skeptical, including Letarte. The legendary crew chief said, “Two tires I believe was the call. I was not factoring in the time it takes to change four tires too.

“In the end, it was the right call. I was nervous.”

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The seconds gained then made a big difference for Truex Jr as he crossed the chequered flag. This not only highlights the importance of the pit crew but how well the #19 team executed a well-calculated risk. This victory not just ends Truex Jr’s 54-race winless streak but also tops the week off in style for the Truex family as his younger brother, Ryan Truex, also won the Xfinity race in Dover.

WATCH THIS STORY: Hendrick Motorsports icon throws shade at Chase Elliott obsession as he demands equal treatment



Ansuman Abhisek

360 articles

Ansuman Abhisek is a NASCAR Writer at EssentiallySports. As an engineering graduate, he has a strong affinity for cars, and it didn't take long for him to translate that into his love for the sport. He is a big fan of Kyle Busch and believes that the Richard Childress Driver still has his best years ahead of him.

Edited By: Nischal Kandpal