Leavine Family Racing still exploring driver options for 2018

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Leavine Family Racing still exploring driver options for 2018
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Sep 15, 2017, 11:16 PM

Leavine Family Racing owner Bob Leavine said Friday his organization is “50-50” on whether it will expand to a two-car team in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series next season.

Michael McDowell, Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet
Michael McDowell, Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet
Michael McDowell, Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet
Kasey Kahne, Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet
Michael McDowell, Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet
Kurt Busch, Stewart-Haas Racing Ford
Michael McDowell, Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet
Michael McDowell, Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet
Michael McDowell, Leavine Family Racing Chevrolet

And even if the organization remains a one-car operation, Leavine said no decision has been made as yet as to the team’s driver.

Michael McDowell has been driving on at least a part-time basis for LFR since the 2014 season. He earned the organization’s best finish earlier this year when he was fourth in the July race at Daytona and is currently 25th in the series standings.

“We actually considered expanding after last season. We had some potential sponsorship that didn’t come about but we were thinking about running the Nos. 95 and 59. So, we’ve already looked at the logistics,” Leavine said Friday at Chicagoland Speedway.

“Two would about max out our shop. We have about 25,000 square-feet and would hold two snug Cup cars.”

Leavine said “everything they do” boils down to sponsorship and at the end of last season LFR unexpectedly lost two sponsors.

“It’s possible some things could fall into place in the next month or so where a second car would be a possibility, so we’re not ruling it out,” he said.

Leavine said has spoken with several drivers regarding next season, including Kasey Kahne, Kurt Busch and McDowell.

“Michael has done nothing that would remove himself out of the car. He is a close, personal friend and he’s done a phenomenal job for us,” Leavine said. “But things potentially could happen and change, so all those options are still on the table. Michael knows about it.

“Kasey and I have talked. I’ve talked with Kurt (Busch). We have to look at what is best for our program and figure out who fits, what fits, if we have sponsorship for it and go from there.”

Leavine said the biggest advantage in adding a driver like Kahne would be on the sponsor side and having a “playoff driver.”

“That’s nothing against Michael, and he knows that. But reality is reality and (Kahne) is a playoff driver and we would look at that more than any other factor,” he said.

Leavine said he had a long conversation with Busch but didn’t think LFR would be a good fit for the former Cup series champion.

“He wants to go win races and I was blatantly honest and said I don’t think we can do that next year, I really don’t,” Leavine said. “We may sneak up on it, maybe at a plate race, but not really where he wants to go in his life cycle of racing.

“He has a lot of goals and aspirations and I don’t want a frustrated driver. We’re not getting all the stuff we need – we’re getting what we got.”

 

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About this article

Series NASCAR Cup
Event Chicagoland
Location Chicagoland Speedway
Drivers Kurt Busch , Michael McDowell , Kasey Kahne
Author Jim Utter
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