DiBenedetto, LFR to part ways

Image by Gavin Baker/LAT

DiBenedetto, LFR to part ways

NASCAR

DiBenedetto, LFR to part ways

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Matt DiBenedetto will not be the driver of the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota after this season.

“I got the devastating news that I will not be able to return to Leavine Family Racing next season,” DiBenedetto said in a statement posted via Twitter.

“Nonetheless, I can’t express how thankful I am for Bob, Sharon, Matt Diliberto, and everyone at LFR and Toyota for allowing me to do exactly what I set out to do, which was showcase my talent. It has been exciting for us as a team to get top fives, top 10s, and lead the most laps in the Daytona 500.

“I have every intention of driving my heart out the rest of the season to not only get more of these kinds of finishes, but to get them their first win. I would love to do that for them.

“Although this is a difficult time for me, nothing is going to stop me from winning in the NASCAR Cup Series. I’m hopeful there is a team out there that will give me the chance to continue my dream and allow me to win for them. Thank you so much to all my fans for supporting me through this journey.”

This was the first season DiBenedetto and LFR had worked together.

DiBenedetto has four top-10 finishes this season with LFR’s No. 95. Image by Russell LaBounty/LAT

DiBenedetto took over the ride from Kasey Kahne, who retired at the end of the last season. DiBenedetto had announced early in the summer of 2018 he wasn’t going to return to Go Fas Racing because he wanted to look for bigger opportunities.

Together, LFR and DiBenedetto entered the season looking to take the next step. The organization had switched manufacturers, hired a new crew chief in Mike Wheeler, and entered a technical alliance with Joe Gibbs Racing. DiBenedetto called the opportunity to compete for Bob Leavine the best opportunity he had received in NASCAR’s Cup Series.

DiBenedetto started the year by leading 49 laps in the Daytona 500 and was running inside the top 10 when he was spun on Lap 192. His average finish this year is 20.4 with four top-10 finishes – the most both he and LFR have earned in a single season – and he sits 23rd in the point standings.

“We have chosen to move in another direction for 2020,” read a statement from LFR. “Matt has been an important part of our team this year, putting together strong runs. He’s a talented young driver and we look forward to closing out this season with him behind the wheel of the No. 95 Camry. We wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

 

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