Steve Letarte has missed a great opportunity.  We know that this is his last year as Dale Earnhardt, Jr.'s crew chief before he heads to the NBC booth; so why not go ahead and leave now?

Hey, how many folks in this sport get to leave with a win? He could have stood there in Victory Lane at Martinsviile, thrown his arm around the grandfather clock and said something corny like, "the time for me to leave is now" or "I believe the clock has struck midnight on my career as a crew chief".

Sure he and Junior have three more races to run, but, they're out of the championship hunt and, I have a hard time believing a win in any of them will come with the same unfiltered joy we saw last weekend.

It could also be a great opportunity for Greg Ives to move on in as Junior's crew chief and get a head start on next year.

Of course, there is one little flaw in my plan; Ives is in the middle of a championship chase with Chase Elliott in the Nationwide series. Somehow I don't think it would sit well with Elliott or his sponsors to pull his crew chief this close to a title.

And, who knows, maybe Letarte will still walk into retirement straight from Victory Lane at Homestead.