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NASCAR Cup: Bob Leavine sells race team

CONCORD, NORTH CAROLINA – MAY 24: Christopher Bell, driver of the #95 Rheem Toyota, drives during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 24, 2020 in Concord, North Carolina. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Bob Leavine is selling his NASCAR Cup Series team, Leavine Family Racong. According to Leavine, the LFR will continue to field its No. 95 Toyota, driven by Cup Series rookie Christopher Bell, for the remainder of the 2020 season.

“It’s with great sadness today that I announce the sale of the Leavine Family Racing team, assets and charter,” a statement from Leavine read. “Since 2011, Sharon and our entire family have enjoyed being a part of the NASCAR community with Matt DiLiberto joining the family as a co-owner in 2016. We will say goodbye at the conclusion of the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.

“This decision has not been made lightly. Family has always been a part of the team’s name and this is how we view every member of our race team — as our family. There is no good time to make this announcement, but doing it earlier allows our people to explore employment opportunities, for next season, to provide for their families. There will be opportunities with the new owners which was important to our decision.

“This year has been challenging for not only our race team, but our industry, our country and the entire world. The pandemic has impacted our economy, and unfortunately, that’s just not something we are able to overcome in order to continue racing beyond this season.

“Leavine Family Racing will continue to compete through the end of 2020, and we want to leave on a positive note – contending for top-finishes with Christopher Bell, Toyota, TRD, and all of our partners. Thank you to everyone for your support through this journey. Thank you to our partners and fans and most of all, thank you to everyone who has been part of the Leavine Family Racing family over the last decade.”

In his statement and a press conference on Tuesday, Leavine didn’t reveal the identity of the buyer of his race team. According to Adam Stern, motorsports reporter for Sports Business Journal, Spire Motorsports is the leading candidate. Spire Motorsports fields the No. 77 entry in the Cup Series.

Leavine did conform, though, that the sale includes the charter for the No. 95 team, the shop building and other assets. Cars, though, are not part of the sale. The cars, leased from Joe Gibbs Racing, will be returned to that organization.

The 2020 season is LFR’s second as part of the Toyota camp. The team switched from Chevrolet to Toyota ahead of the 2019 season in a deal that included a technical alliance with JGR. After Matt DiBenedetto drove the No. 95 last season, JGR beefed-up its alliance with Leavine to put Bell, a Gibbs development driver, in the car for 2020.

“We want to thank Bob and Sharon Leavine, Matt DiLiberto, Jeremy Lange and everyone at Leavine Family Racing for a successful partnership,” Toyota Motor North America Motorsports Group Manager Paul Doleshal said. “We entered this 2020 racing season with high hopes for LFR,  and the team has not disappointed. While the season may not have started out as everyone wanted, after returning from the shutdown due to COVID-19, LFR rebounded with some very strong on-track performances. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world and more closely, the entire NASCAR family in so many ways, and for LFR, that has forced the sale of the race team. We’re certainly disappointed and saddened by the news, but most importantly, we want to wish Bob, Sharon, Matt, Jeremy and everyone impacted the best of luck in their future endeavors.”

Leavine Family Racing, which began competing in the Cup Series in 2011, has made 240 starts in the series, has a best finish of second at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway with DiBenedetto last season. Over the years, Leavine has fielded cars of all three manufacturers active in the Cup Series — Ford, Chevrolet and Toyota. Other drivers who have driven the No. 95 over the years include Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith, Michael McDowell and Ty Dillon, among others.

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Posted by on August 4, 2020. Filed under Breaking News,Cup Series,Featured,NASCAR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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