Sun, 27 Sep 2020

Leavine Family Racing closing down after this season

Field Level Media
05 Aug 2020, 04:40 GMT+10

Leavine Family Racing has sold its NASCAR team due to financial difficulties, team owner Bob Leavine said Tuesday.

"This decision has not been made lightly," he wrote in a post on Twitter. "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 has competed in NASCAR since 2011 and began running a full race schedule in 2016. The team has never won a Cup Series race, with its best finish being Matt DiBenedetto's runner-up showing at Bristol in August 2019.

Leavine said his construction company, the race team's principal financial backer, had been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I thought we could make a difference and be a good team. A responsible and respected team in NASCAR. To walk away and not have completed that, I've never had to do that before and give up on anything," Leavine said at a news conference. "But I could not let it destroy our business -- a 41-year old business -- in Texas during these times, so you have to protect something and that's a profitable organization, and I cannot rape, pillage and plunder.

"It's like having two kids, and you have to decide which one lives, and which one doesn't. It's gut wrenching."

Leavine Family Racing will finish out the current Cup Series season, with rookie Christopher Bell remaining behind the wheel of the No. 95 Toyota. Bell, 25, has one top-five finish and is ranked 23rd in the current standings.

Leavine did not reveal who had purchased the charter, which guarantees entry into the 40-car field for each race, although Sports Business Journal reported that Spire Motorsports was the most likely buyer.

--Field Level Media

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