Leavine Family Racing moves to Toyota for 2019 season

Thu 11th October 2018

Matt DiBenedetto will join the team with a two-year contract to drive the No. 95 car, the team announced Wednesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame. LFR will also enter into a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing and move to Toyota.

DiBenedetto comes to LFR after four seasons in the Monster Energy Series driving for BK Racing and Go Fas Racing. The 27-year-old California native announced in September he was going in a “different direction” and leaving Go Fas to “take a leap of faith” and bet on himself. That leap of faith also involved making frequent calls to his connections in the NASCAR industry, including the LFR organization.

DiBenedetto’s social media engagement with fans and fellow drivers has helped him gain support off the track. On the track, DiBenedetto has four top-10 finishes in 134 starts in the sport’s top series as he enters this weekend’s race at Talladega.

The move to a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing brings LFR into the Toyota stable just as Furniture Row Racing is departing at year’s end. Furniture Row had been with Toyota since the 2016 season.

Leavine said that his agreement with DiBenedetto was a two-year deal, and that the TRD/JGR partnership was also for two years with an option for a third. A crew chief and other team personnel will be named later, he said.

“I really like his desire, determination,” Leavine said. “Good kid. … We think the world of him and his ability.”

LFR also announced on Wednesday that Smith would fill the seat for the rest of the season.