Just days after winning its 10th Cup title, Hendrick Motorsports has announced a major reshuffle for 2011. The NASCAR superteam will change the crew chiefs for three of its drivers, with Jeff Gordon ending his long-term partnership with Steve Letarte, who will now work with Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Letarte will move to Earnhardt's car following another disappointing season for the fan favorite. In three years with Hendrick, he has won just one race and made the Chase only once, both in 2008.
Gordon will team up with crew chief Alan Gustafson, who was with veteran Mark Martin for the last two years. Lance McGrew will be Martin's chief next year, having had two win-less seasons with Earnhardt.
Team owner Rick Hendrick said: "This will improve us as an organization across the board. We had a championship season [in 2010], but we weren't where we wanted and needed to be with all four teams. We've made the right adjustments and I'm excited to go racing with this lineup."
Gordon's team will move to another building within the Hendrick factory, to sit alongside the team for Martin's car – with Earnhardt's going the other way – meaning Jimmie Johnson's crew chief, Chad Knaus, and Letarte will continue to work alongside one another.
The changes announced have taken effect immediately, while Johnson and Knaus will continue to work together in their aim to win a sixth consecutive title in 2011.