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Leavine Family Racing (formerly Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing and originally Leavine Fenton Racing) is an American professional stock car racing team that as of 2018 competes in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Owned by Sharon and Bob Leavine, the team is headquartered in Tyler, Texas, but operates its racing team from a shop in Concord, North Carolina. In 2016, longtime NASCAR team owner Joe Falk became part of the ownership group, merging his Circle Sport operation with LFR, however as the 2016 season came to an end, Falk left the team securing his charter, and causing LFR to purchase a charter from Tommy Baldwin Racing.

Leavine Family Racing
Leavine Family Racing.jpeg
Owner(s)Bob Leavine
Sharon Leavine
BaseTyler, Texas
Concord, North Carolina
Race drivers95. Matt DiBenedetto
Sponsors95. Procore, Dumont Jets, Toyota (Express Maintenance, Certified Used Vehicles, Owners), NASCAR Heat Pro League, FDNY Foundation, Digital Momentum, HubSpot, Anest Iwata
ManufacturerToyota
Opened2011
Career
DebutMonster Energy NASCAR Cup Series:
2011 Samsung Mobile 500 (Texas)
Nationwide Series:
2013 Dollar General 300 (Charlotte)
ARCA Racing Series:
2011 Prairie Meadows 200 (Iowa)
Latest raceMonster Energy NASCAR Cup Series:
2019 Quaker State 400 (Kentucky)
Nationwide Series:
2013 Dollar General 300 (Charlotte)
ARCA Racing Series:
2012 Kansas Lottery 98.9 (Kansas)
Races competedTotal: 214
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: 203
Nationwide Series: 1
ARCA Racing Series: 10
Drivers' ChampionshipsTotal: 0
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: 0
Nationwide Series: 0
ARCA Racing Series: 0
Race victoriesTotal: 0
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: 0
Nationwide Series: 0
ARCA Racing Series: 0
Pole positionsTotal: 0
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series: 0
Nationwide Series: 0
ARCA Racing Series: 0

Leavine Family Racing currently has a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, with Matt DiBenedetto driving the No. 95 Toyota Camry.[1] The team previously fielded Fords with a technical alliance with Team Penske from 2011 to 2015, and Chevrolets with a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing from 2016 to 2018.

Contents

Monster Energy NASCAR Cup SeriesEdit

Car No. 59 historyEdit

In 2016, CSLFR, as part of the Circle Sport merger, agreed to have Ty Dillon drive the No. 95 for the 2016 Daytona 500. McDowell would attempt the race in a second entry, the No. 59 Thrivent Financial / K-Love Chevy. McDowell qualified the 500 by finishing 14th in his Can-Am Duel race. McDowell had a commendable finish in the car during the Daytona 500, finishing 15th. This was the only start in 2016 for the No. 59 other than the season finale at Homestead. Before the weekend, the team acquired a charter from the No. 7 team of Tommy Baldwin Racing, which guaranteed the No. 59 a spot in the race. The car finished 10th in the race, after avoiding a big crash that took out the teammate's No. 95 car with just a few laps left in the race.

Car No. 59 resultsEdit

Year Driver No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Owners Pts
2016 Michael McDowell 59 Chevy DAY
15
ATL LVS PHO CAL MAR TEX BRI RCH TAL KAN DOV CLT POC MCH SON DAY KEN NHA IND POC GLN BRI MCH DAR RCH CHI NHA DOV CLT KAN TAL MAR TEX PHO HOM
10
32nd1 4941

Car No. 95 historyEdit

David Starr (2011)
 
The team's 2011 car

Founded as Leavine Fenton Racing by Bob Leavine and Lance Fenton in early 2011, the team planned to compete on a limited basis in the Sprint Cup Series and Camping World Truck Series, with David Starr competing in the former for six events and Fenton driving in the latter for three.[2] Based in Tyler, Texas but with its race shop in Concord, North Carolina,[3] the team made its debut in the Cup Series at Texas Motor Speedway in April of that year;[4] Starr qualified for the race, his first in Sprint Cup competition, and finished 38th following an accident.[5]

Following competing in the Sprint Showdown and Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway,[6] the team announced that Fenton's share in the team had been acquired by Leavine and his wife, Sharon; the team was renamed as Leavine Family Racing. Fenton had not attempted any Truck Series events before leaving the team.[7] After failing to qualify at Kentucky Speedway, the team next raced at Bristol Motor Speedway in August, scoring its best finish and Starr's career best in the series, 27th; LFR and Starr would fail to qualify for events at Chicagoland Speedway, Kansas Speedway and in the fall at Texas Motor Speedway over the remainder of the year, only making one further race, at Atlanta Motor Speedway where they posted a 29th-place finish.[8]

Scott Speed (2012-2013)
 
The team's 2013 car at Martinsville

Starr left Leavine Family Racing following the 2011 season; for 2012, Leavine hired Scott Speed to drive the team's No. 95 Fords in the Sprint Cup Series, with Wally Rogers as crew chief;[9] a 15-race schedule in NASCAR's premier series was planned for the season.[10] The team qualified for races with Speed at Richmond International Raceway and Charlotte Motor Speedway with Speed, starting and parking, before finishing 25th at Sonoma Raceway.[11] The team also posted a 14th-place finish in the Sprint Showdown, a non-points event.[9] At the 2012 Finger Lakes 355 at The Glen, Speed finished 17th.

In August 2012 LFR announced that it had re-signed Speed for the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season, intending to run 28 events on the 36 race schedule.[12] The team had its best finish at the 2013 Aaron's 499 with a ninth-place finish, however they started and parked most other events. Speed left the team after the Atlanta race, citing his frustration with the team's starting and parking and hinting that the plan had been to run more full races. He was replaced on an interim basis by Reed Sorenson.[13]

Michael McDowell (2014-2017)

In October 2013, Leavine Family Racing announced that Michael McDowell would drive the team's No. 95 Ford Fusion Cup Series entry in 2014.[14] They ran 20 of the 36 races. On January 28, 2014, Leavine announced that KLOVE, Thrivent Financial, and several other sponsors would sponsor all 20 scheduled races in the 2014 Sprint Cup season. The sponsorship meant the team would be able to run full races, and enabled it to form an alliance with Team Penske.

At the 2014 Coke Zero 400, McDowell and Leavine Family Racing finished their career-best with a 7th-place finish in the rain-shortened event. The team's performance was much improved with the Penske alliance, and additional sponsorship allowed the team to run seven of the final eight events, and 22 in total. The team finished 43rd in owners points.

McDowell returned in 2015, as did K-LOVE and Thrivent. The team once again planned to run at least 20 races, and maintained its Penske alliance. McDowell was able to make the Daytona 500, a race he had failed to qualify for in 2014. The team posted four DNQs in 2015, three of which were due to rainouts and an increase in full-time entries. In early summer, the team made the news in unfortunate fashion after part of their shop burned down. This forced them to take refuge on the Team Penske campus, inside their former sports car shop, until their own facility was repaired enough for them to return.[15] The team ultimately slipped slightly to 44th in owner points, but did finish ahead of the No. 62, a team that attempted all 36 races.

In January 2016, longtime NASCAR team owner Joe Falk became an investor in LFR and the team switched to Chevrolet. Falk brought a charter granted to him, to the No. 95 team, guaranteeing the 95 its first full season of racing. The team formed an alliance with Richard Childress Racing. The No. 95 attempted all 36 races, with McDowell returning to run in at least 26 events with sponsorship from K-Love and Thrivent, and Ty Dillon driving in at max 10 races, with sponsorship from General Mills and AstraZeneca. McDowell ran the majority of the events,[16][17][18] and ran the Daytona 500 in a second entry, the No. 59.

Kasey Kahne (2018)

On September 19, 2017, LFR announced former Hendrick Motorsports driver Kasey Kahne would be replacing McDowell in the No. 95 for the 2018 season.[19] On August 16, 2018, Kahne announced that he will step away from full time competition at the end of the year.[20][21] On September 6, 2018, after heat exhaustion from the Southern 500, Kahne announced that he would sit out the Brickyard 400, which became the first race he missed since he began his full-time Cup Series career. Regan Smith took the wheel of the No. 95 car in Kahne's absence.[22] On October 9, Kahne announced that he will miss the rest of the season due to lingering medical conditions.[23]

Matt DiBenedetto (2019)

On October 10, 2018, Matt DiBenedetto signed a two-year contract with LFR to drive the No. 95 starting in 2019. In addition, LFR will switch from Chevrolet to Toyota while entering a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing.[1] At the 2019 Daytona 500, DiBenedetto led an impressive 49 laps before Paul Menard spun him from behind, triggering "The Big One" that claimed 21 cars and resulting in DiBenedetto finishing 28th. DiBenedetto scored a career-high fourth place finish at Sonoma.

Car No. 95 resultsEdit

Year Driver No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 Owners Pts
2011 David Starr 95 Ford DAY PHO LVS BRI CAL MAR TEX
38
TAL RCH DAR DOV CLT
36
KAN POC MCH SON DAY KEN
DNQ
NHA IND POC GLN MCH BRI
27
ATL
29
RCH CHI
DNQ
NHA DOV KAN
DNQ
CLT TAL MAR TEX
DNQ
PHO HOM 47th 47
2012 Scott Speed DAY PHO LVS BRI CAL MAR TEX
43
KAN RCH
43
TAL DAR CLT
37
DOV POC MCH SON
25
KEN
39
DAY NHA IND
38
POC GLN
17
MCH BRI
DNQ
ATL
37
RCH CHI
41
NHA
38
DOV
40
TAL CLT
40
KAN
34
MAR
37
TEX
30
PHO HOM 43rd 121
2013 DAY
23
PHO
41
LVS
41
BRI
40
CAL MAR
41
TEX
DNQ
KAN RCH TAL
9
DAR
41
CLT
43
DOV POC MCH SON KEN DAY
28
NHA IND
DNQ
POC GLN MCH
41
BRI
40
ATL
43
44th 126
Reed Sorenson RCH
42
CHI
42
DOV
41
KAN
42
MAR
40
TEX PHO
37
HOM
Scott Riggs NHA
43
Blake Koch CLT
38
TAL
2014 Michael McDowell DAY
DNQ
PHO
33
LVS
43
BRI
37
CAL MAR
37
TEX
30
DAR RCH
DNQ
TAL
36
KAN CLT
30
DOV POC MCH SON
24
KEN DAY
7
NHA IND
26
POC GLN
42
MCH BRI
18
ATL
DNQ
RCH CHI
32
NHA DOV KAN
35
CLT
29
TAL
41
MAR TEX
30
PHO
31
HOM
21
42nd 255
2015 DAY
31
ATL
27
LVS
30
PHO CAL MAR TEX
31
BRI
22
RCH TAL
DNQ
KAN
36
CLT
30
DOV POC MCH SON
34
DAY
DNQ
KEN
DNQ
NHA IND
31
POC GLN
20
MCH BRI
31
DAR RCH
42
CHI
DNQ
NHA DOV CLT
31
KAN TAL
28
MAR TEX
34
PHO HOM
33
44th 213
2016 Ty Dillon Chevy DAY
25
TEX
20
POC
21
MCH
24
KEN
25
DOV
32
HOM
33
30th 552
Michael McDowell ATL
33
LVS
29
PHO
26
CAL
31
MAR
24
BRI
29
RCH
31
TAL
21
KAN
28
DOV
20
CLT
34
SON
39
DAY
10
NHA
39
IND
23
POC
23
GLN
17
BRI
19
MCH
31
DAR
27
RCH
12
CHI
37
NHA
26
CLT
14
KAN
22
TAL
16
MAR
18
TEX
23
PHO
34
2017 DAY
15
ATL
29
LVS
18
PHO
24
CAL
33
MAR
26
TEX
23
BRI
26
RCH
29
TAL
34
KAN
13
CLT
19
DOV
19
POC
24
MCH
23
SON
14
DAY
4
KEN
23
NHA
26
IND
18
POC
18
GLN
12
MCH
27
BRI
20
DAR
19
RCH
16
CHI
30
NHA
23
DOV
27
CLT
35
TAL
30
KAN
18
MAR
19
TEX
21
PHO
22
HOM
24
27th 542
2018 Kasey Kahne DAY
34
ATL
21
LVS
19
PHO
24
CAL
24
MAR
24
TEX
17
BRI
34
RCH
29
TAL
17
DOV
17
KAN
21
CLT
20
POC
36
MCH
23
SON
20
CHI
27
DAY
4
KEN
25
NHA
19
POC
30
GLN
21
MCH
26
BRI
15
DAR
24
27th 515
Regan Smith IND
20
LVS
12
RCH
31
CLT
15
DOV
21
TAL
10
KAN
28
MAR
28
TEX
27
PHO
22
HOM
39
2019 Matt DiBenedetto Toyota DAY
28*
ATL
26
LVS
21
PHO
28
CAL
18
MAR
20
TEX
26
BRI
12
RCH
24
TAL
31
DOV
20
KAN
36
CLT
39
POC
17
MCH
21
SON
4
CHI
27
DAY
8
KEN
16
NHA POC GLN MCH BRI DAR IND LVS RCH CLT DOV TAL KAN MAR TEX PHO HOM -* -*

Nationwide SeriesEdit

Car No. 95 historyEdit

In October 2013, LFR announced that they would be adding a Nationwide Series team to the team's operations, with the No. 95 Ford Mustang being driven by Reed Sorenson in selected races late in the 2013 season, with a full-time driver for the 2014 season to be announced.[24] However, the team has yet to field a car in the Nationwide Series (now the Xfinity Series).

Car No. 95 resultsEdit

Year Driver No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 Owners Pts
2013 Reed Sorenson 95 Ford DAY PHO LVS BRI CAL TEX RCH TAL DAR CLT DOV IOW MCH ROA KEN DAY NHA CHI IND IOW GLN MOH BRI ATL RCH CHI KEN DOV KAN CLT
37
TEX PHO HOM 65th 7

ARCA Racing SeriesEdit

Car No. 95 historyEdit

For the 2012 season, Leavine Family Racing added an ARCA Racing Series team to its racing efforts, with Michael Leavine, grandson of the team's owners, racing as a development driver.[25] A six-race schedule was planned for Leavine in the series for 2012;[26] In his first two races of the 2012 season, Leavine crashed in both, with a best finish of 26th at Pocono Raceway;[27] he withdrew following practice at his third attempted race at Michigan International Speedway.[28][29]

Car No. 95 resultsEdit

Year Driver No. Make 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Owners Pts
2011 Michael Leavine 03 Chevy DAY TAL SLM TOL NJ CHI POC MCH WIN BLN IOW
20
IRP 33rd 880
95 POC
28
ISF MAD DSF SLM KAN
26
TOL
2012 Ford DAY MOB
31
SLM TAL TOL ELK POC
26
MCH
Wth
WIN NJE IOW
15
CHI
14
IRP
15
POC
31
BLN ISF MAD SLM KAN
17
73rd 75

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Leavine Family Racing adds DiBenedetto, moves to Toyota for 2019 season NASCAR.com". NASCAR. October 10, 2018. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  2. ^ "Texans partner to form new race team". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports. January 7, 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  3. ^ "About Us". Leavine Family Racing. Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  4. ^ Wright, Scott (April 8, 2011). "Leavine Fenton Racing team carries local hopes to Texas Motor Speedway". The Oklahoman. Oklahoama City, OK. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  5. ^ Rodman, Dave (April 14, 2011). "Leavine cites 'awesome' debut, despite result". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  6. ^ "NASCAR teams join new effort for tornado relief". NASCAR.com. Turner Sports. May 19, 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  7. ^ "Leavine Family Racing: Same Great Team, New Name". Catchfence.com. June 2, 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  8. ^ "David Starr - 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Results". Racing-Reference. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  9. ^ a b Linesburgh, Scott (June 24, 2012). "Still feeling need for Speed". The Record. Stockton, CA. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  10. ^ Bromberg, Nick (December 13, 2011). "Scott Speed to drive for Leavine Family Racing in 2012". From the Marbles. Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  11. ^ "Scott Speed - 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Results". Racing-Reference. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  12. ^ "Scott Speed Re-signs with Leavine Family Racing". Catchfence.com via SPEED Channel/Fox Sports. August 8, 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-08.
  13. ^ "Scott Speed loses drive with Leavine Family Racing NASCAR team". Autosport.com. September 5, 2013. Retrieved January 4, 2014.
  14. ^ DiZinno, Tony (2013-10-28). "NASCAR notes: McDowell switches teams, Schrader to retire from Cup". NBC Sports. Retrieved 2013-10-28.
  15. ^ Larson, Mike (May 12, 2015). "Garage fire forces NASCAR's Leavine Family Racing to move". Autoweek. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  16. ^ Team release (January 21, 2016). "LEAVINE FAMILY RACING, CIRCLE SPORT MERGE FOR FULL SLATE". Concord, North Carolina: nascar.com. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  17. ^ Team release (January 21, 2016). "THRIVENT IS PRIMARY SPONSOR FOR MICHAEL MCDOWELL". Minneapolis: nascar.com. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  18. ^ Team release (January 21, 2016). "RCR FORMS TECHNICAL ALLIANCE WITH CIRCLE SPORT-LEAVINE FAMILY RACING". Welcome, North Carolina: NASCAR. Retrieved 21 January 2016.
  19. ^ Mayer, Matthew (September 19, 2017). "NASCAR playoff driver Kasey Kahne to drive for Leavine Family Racing in 2018". CBS Sports. Retrieved September 19, 2017.
  20. ^ "Kasey Kahne retiring from NASCAR because 'highs' don't outweigh 'lows'". August 16, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  21. ^ "Kasey's personal announcement of retiring". August 16, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  22. ^ "Kasey Kahne sidelined for Indy, Regan Smith to drive No. 95". NASCAR. September 6, 2018. Retrieved October 6, 2018.
  23. ^ "Kasey Kahne says he'll miss rest of NASCAR season". NASCAR. October 9, 2018. Retrieved October 10, 2018.
  24. ^ "Leavine team expands into Xfinity Series". Yahoo! Sports. October 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-10-02.
  25. ^ "Michael Leavine's First ARCA Racing Series Start at Mobile will Have that Same Old Feeling". Catchfence.com. March 5, 2012. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  26. ^ Hembree, Mike (February 2, 2012). "The Slowing Of Speed". SPEED Channel. Fox Sports. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  27. ^ "Michael Leavine - 2012 ARCA Racing Series Results". Racing-Reference. USA Today Sports Media Group. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  28. ^ "ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Event #8, Michigan Int'l Speedway, Brooklyn MI, 6-15-12: RainEater Wiper Blades 200, Practice Results". Automobile Racing Club of America. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
  29. ^ "2012 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards Event #8, Michigan Int'l Speedway, Brooklyn Michigan, 6-15-12: RainEater Wiper Blades 200, Qualifying Results". Automobile Racing Club of America. Retrieved 2012-06-25.

External linksEdit