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Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s crew chief to take TV job after this season

NBC Sports said Thursday that Steve Letarte, crew chief for Dale Earnhardt Jr., would join NBC Sports as an analyst on its broadcasts of NASCAR events starting next year.

NASCAR last year announced a 10-year pact, starting in 2015, for NBC Sports to carry the final 20 races of NASCAR's 36-race Sprint Cup Series schedule along with the final 19 races in NASCAR's second-level Nationwide Series.

Letarte, 34, last year completed his third full season as crew chief for Earnhardt and his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team. Before that, Letarte was crew chief for fellow Hendrick driver Jeff Gordon for five years.

In a statement, Letarte thanked the team and its owner Rick Hendrick and said, "I want to reaffirm my commitment to Dale Jr. and the entire 88 team to go win races and challenge for the championship in 2014."

Rick Hendrick also said in a statement that Letarte "has all the tools to be a terrific broadcaster and I know our fans will enjoy hearing his perspective."

Hendrick said "we don't expect to address the crew-chief position [for Earnhardt] until after the season."

NBC Sports said Letarte would join veteran driver and fellow analyst Jeff Burton and race announcer Rick Allen on its NASCAR programs.

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