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NASCAR Cup: Leavine Family Racing wants to join Toyota camp

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – FEBRUARY 10: Kasey Kahne, driver of the #95 Procore Chevrolet, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway on February 10, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

By AMANDA VINCENT

Bob Leavine, owner of the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, wants to keep Kasey Kahne behind the wheel of his race car in 2019, but he’d like to switch manufacturers. He wants to trade in his Chevrolet for a Toyota. He already has notified longtime Chevrolet team Richard Childress Racing that he will be ending its technical alliance with RCR at the end of the season.

“What I can tell you is we’re 90 percent sure, and we’ve notified RCR that we won’t be back, and then, we’re investigating all the other possibilities on where to go,” Leavine told Fronstretch.com about the possibility of switching to Toyota. “Have we visited those folks (Toyota)? Yes. Our goal with this team is to be competitive. Anybody who is in this garage wants to be competitive.”

Toyota drivers have won two of the last three Cup Series championships with Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. taking last year’s title and Joe Gibbs Racing’s Kyle Busch in 2015.

“In our talking to the manufacturers this year, Toyota has been head-and-shoulders above the rest so far,” Leavine said, according to an NBC Sports report. “Everything we have investigated and done with Toyota has felt good from one end of the spectrum, the technical, to just the relationship basis.”

Chevrolet has struggled in its first year with its new Camaro ZL1 in the Cup Series, winning only twice — Austin Dillon in the Daytona 500 and Chase Elliott last weekend at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

Toyota has 11 wins in the first 22 races of 2018 — six from Busch, four by Truex and one from Erik Jones.

Leavine and Kahne have both confirmed that they want to continue together in 2019, and as a result, are in the midst of contract negotiations. Leavine has said that he he wants to have Kahne’s deal completed within the next month to shift focus to a potential deal with Toyota.

The 2018 season is Kahne’s first with LFR. Travis Mack was his crew chief for the first 15 races before Mack was replaced by Jon Leonard. The No. 95 team has one top-10 this season, a fourth-place showing at Daytona International Speedway in July with Leonard as crew chief. Kahne has two top-20s in the 22 races, so far, this season.

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Posted by on August 10, 2018. Filed under Breaking News,Featured,Monster Energy NASCAR Cup,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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