Bob Leavine’s Leavine Family Racing team is in its 10th year of competition in the NASCAR Cup Series, but that 10th season will be the last for the team, as Leavine announced the sale of LFR on Tuesday. Although, he is selling his team, Leavine has committed to completing the 2020 race 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.”
Leavine is not reavealing the buyer of the team, but Adam Stern from Sports Business Journal is reporting that Spire Motorsports, which fields the #77 entry in the Cup Series, is the leading candidate.
Leavine Family Racing is fielding the #95 Toyota for Cup Series rookie Chriostpher Bell, through a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing in 2020. This season is LFR’s second with Toyota and an alliance with JGR.
“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.”
The sale does not include race cars. The cars, which LFR is leasing from Joe Gibbs Racing, will be returned to JGR. The sale does include the charter for the #95, the shop building out of which LFR is operating, and other assets.
Since joining the Cup Series in 2011, LFR has fielded Fords, Chevrolets and Toyotas. Aside from Bell, other drivers who have driven the #95 include Matt DiBenedetto, Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith, Michael McDowell and Ty Dillon, among others. In 240 races, the team’s best race finish was a second with DiBenedetto as driver at Bristol Motor Speedway last season.
In the 20 races, so far, this season, Bell and the #95 team have a top-five and five top-10 finishes. Bell is 23rd in the Cup Series driver standings.