Realistic expectations for LFR in 2019

Photo by Harold Hinson Photography

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

For Leavine Family Racing, 2019 brings a new driver, a new manufacturer and a new aerodynamic package.

In October, Bob Leavine, owner of LFR, announced that the organization would be switching from Chevrolet to Toyota and will have Matt DiBenedetto behind the wheel of the No. 95.

With all the changes for 2019, Leavine, DiBenedetto, and David Wilson of Toyota Racing Development, believes 2019 is a year of setting realistic expectations for the team.

“We think 16th is going to be really difficult. The number we looked at and, for the lack of better term, our Performa for our financials is 18th, so top-20. You beat a lot of good cars to get to there,” Leavine stated.

“We are going to a superior engine program with great bodies and chassis, but you still have to put it all together with the people, car, crew chief, engineers, it’s a changeover. Doing that with Chevrolet, we had a body change in there, so it was very difficult. It’s progression.”

While echoing the sentiments of Leavine, Wilson hasn’t set any concrete goals, but are focused on building a strong relationship and foundation between LFR, Joe Gibbs Racing and TRD.

“What is most important is that we build a strong foundation and reinforce the relationships between ourselves, the team, and Joe Gibbs Racing. Without that foundation, it is difficult to build on. We are taking it, I think, in a very pragmatic approach,” Wilson said.

“We are going to be looking for gains relative to how they’ve run the past couple of years. We’re optimistic and are going to be patient throughout the process.”

DiBenedetto does not like to put numbers on goals, but the goal is to go out and shock some people with their performance.

“I know in general with the switch to Toyota and being a part of the TRD Family and being with LFR is a team that I have seen dump their heart and soul into. They want to be better,” DiBenedetto stated.

“You can tell these guys want to perform at the highest level. I think we are going to go out there and shock some people and show them what we are made of. I am lucky to be a part of a growing team.”

While LFR is replacing the defunct Furniture Row Racing, Leavine wants people to know that they are not Furniture Row

“I know people are going to say, ‘Well, Furniture Row.’ We are not Furniture Row! We have not been racing as long as them when they got their win and championship. We will take it that we want to get better. We want to progress. If we put unrealistic expectations on ourselves, this isn’t going to be much fun, just some fun.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *