An organization that started as a part-time NASCAR Cup Series team in 2011 and has shifted it’s way to being a much more competitive team in recent seasons, Leavine Family Racing will be closing it’s doors after the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season. Team owner Bob Leavine made the announcement on Tuesday in the form of a statement and included that the team charter and assets have already been sold.
Leavine’s statement read:
“It’s with great sadness today that I announce the sale of the Leavine Family Racing team, assets and charter. 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, Toyot, TRD and all of our partners. Thank you to everyone for your support through this journey. Thank you to our partners. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of Leavine Family Racing over the last decade.”
The No. 95 team currently fields cars for NASCAR Cup Series rookie and Joe Gibbs Racing development driver Christopher Bell.
The demise of the No. 95 team had been rumored recently as team owner Bob Leavine had suffered financial losses with his personal companies in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although rumors persisted, there was hope that the No. 95 team, which has a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing, could survive.
The NASCAR Cup Series will be losing a genuinely nice individual in Leavine, who was always willing to take time out in the garage to speak about a variety of topics. Leavine was also one of the most outspoken and honest team owners on Twitter. He was crafted from a unique mold from an owner standpoint.
Toyota Racing released a statement of their own on the loss of LFR.
— Toyota Racing (@ToyotaRacing) August 4, 2020
Bell also Tweeted that he has been grateful for his opportunity with the No. 95 team and that he remains focused on trying to land his first-career NASCAR Cup Series win in the car.
I’m grateful for the opportunity to compete in the Cup series for LFR, and I’m focused on finishing the year strong and going after not only my first win, but the teams as well. https://t.co/FBU5XKXTNX
— Christopher Bell (@CBellRacing) August 4, 2020
The news of Leavine Family Racing opting to shutter their doors raises several questions for 2021.
Who has purchased the assets and the No. 95 team charter?
Spire Motorsports has been rumored as the top contender for purchasing the Team Charter and assets of Leavine Family Racing according to industry sources, who have disclosed this information to TobyChristie.com.
They were the team that purchased the Charter from the now-defunct Furniture Row Racing.
Bell, 25, has one top-five finish and five top-10s through the first 20 races of the season, and he sits 23rd in the championship standings. While the silly season picture seemed to be getting more clear with Brad Keselowski re-signing with Team Penske on Monday, this really throws a wrench into things.
Bell, who has 23 wins between the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and NASCAR Xfinity Series in his young career, will need to find a new seat for the 2021 season. Will he move to JGR? And if so, does that signal that Erik Jones is out? If Bell doesn’t move to JGR, where does he go?
Buckle up, silly season is just beginning, folks.
Toby is the Founder, Editor and go-to man for TobyChristie.com. He is also the co-host of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. Additionally, Toby is a NMPA (National Motorsports Press Association) award winning writer, and has followed NASCAR as a fan since 1993.