Getty Images

Leavine Family Racing leaving RCR technical alliance after this season

1 Comment

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — Car owner Bob Leavine confirmed Sunday that Leavine Family Racing will leave its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing after this season.

The move was first reported by frontstretch.com.

Leavine said Sunday at Watkins Glen International that his team notified RCR in early July that it was not returning to the technical alliance after this season.

Leavine’s actions could signal a manufacturer change for the single-car car team. That also would mean a new engine manufacturer since Leavine gets its engines from Earnhardt Childress Racing Engines.

Leavine said he’s also had conversations with Toyota and Ford, while also negotiating to retain Kasey Kahne after this season.

“In our talking to the manufacturers this year, Toyota has been head-and-shoulders above the rest so far,” Leavine said. 

“Everything we have investigated and done with Toyota has felt good from one end of the spectrum, the technical, to just the relationship basis.”

Would Leavine Family Racing’s move to Toyota provide a place for Xfinity driver Christopher Bell to race in Cup next year? Bell has said he feels he is ready to move to Cup and has won four times this season in that series but there appears no room at Joe Gibbs Racing or Furniture Row Racing in Cup for him.

“Christopher is a great driver,” Leavine said. “We have had no discussions with Christopher. He’s a Toyota driver, so they’ve got their program and know what they want to do. They haven’t relayed to us any interest of him in our car. I’m sure they’ve got a plan for him. The kid has great talent.”

Leavine said the team is in talks with Kahne, whose contract ends after this year, to return to the No. 95 team.

“He’s expressed a desire to come back, he’s doing a great job for us,” Leavine said of Kahne, who enters Sunday’s race 27th in the driver standings. “Same reason we hired him last year.”

Also, car owner Tad Geschickter said that JTG Daugherty will move from Earnhardt Childress Racing engines to Hendrick engines after this season. JTG Daugherty left the RCR technical alliance for Hendrick after last season.

Car owner Richard Childress said Sunday that replacements would be found for the departure of Leavine Family Racing from the technical alliance and JTG Daugherty from the engine program next year.

“We’re good,” Childress said. “We’ve got replacements for all of them but one, so we’re fine.”

NASCAR America: An emotional end to 2018 for Martin Truex Jr.

Leave a comment

The 2018 season was an emotional one for Martin Truex Jr.

Last year’s championship was a fairy tale for a team located in Denver, Colorado – far from NASCAR’s epicenter in North Carolina.

This season was much different. Furniture Row Racing found out midseason that its primary sponsor would not return after this year, which caused car owner Barney Visser to decide to shut down the team after the final race.

With that looming closure came the inevitable questions of if the No. 78 team would lose focus.

MORE: What went wrong for Kyle Busch in Miami?
MORE: Kevin Harvick failed to keep up with Miami

Then came late-race incidents at the Charlotte Roval and Martinsville when Truex was knocked out of the lead on the final corner by Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano respectively. 

“They just didn’t have that short run speed to beat the 22 (of Logano at Miami), but they put up a heck of a fight,” NASCAR America analyst Parker Kligerman said on Monday’s edition of the show. “They did all of this under the cloud of knowing that that organization was shutting down at the end of this last race.”

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America: Kevin Harvick’s team failed to keep up with Miami

Leave a comment

Under NASCAR’s current playoff format winning the most races means a lot. It doesn’t win the championship, however, unless one of those victories comes in the season finale.

After the race in Miami, Kevin Harvick was not ready to call his season a failure. He won eight times during the year, tying him for the lead with Kyle Busch. But he was noticeably disappointed by coming up two positions short of claiming his second Cup. Harvick finished behind the 2018 champion Joey Logano and last year’s champion Martin Truex Jr.

“When I look at the 4 team through the whole weekend, they just seemed a little bit off,” Parker Kligerman said on Monday’s edition of NASCAR America. “You look at qualifying, it didn’t go well. And then Saturday practice, they had a short run to start off the first practice because he wasn’t happy with the car. He wasn’t able to find the feel in the car. It just seemed like they were searching a little bit.”

MORE: What went wrong for Kyle Busch in Miami?

Harvick started the race strong, moving up to the lead on Lap 43 after starting 12th. He won the first stage. When the field pitted, the team did not make any significant changes to the car and Harvick was never quite the same.

Jeff Burton said that indicates the team failed to adjust to the changing characteristics of the track.

“In this kind of race when it all comes down to one race and you just get off that little bit at the wrong time, there’s no time to recover,” Burton said.

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America: What went wrong for Kyle Busch in Miami?

1 Comment

Kyle Busch was one of the dominant drivers of the season with eight wins during the season to his credit and an incredible number of bonus points as the playoffs began. Two of his wins came during the playoffs, which led many to consider him one of the co-favorites to win the championship along with Kevin Harvick.

Instead, Busch finished a distant fourth in the race and the championship.

“There was nothing in the 18 car that was magical,” Steve Letarte said on Monday’s edition of NASCAR America. “The 4 (of Harvick) when they dropped the green drove right to the front. … The 22 (of Joey Logano) at times, you said ‘he’s got great short run speed; if it comes down to a short run, he should be good.’ The 78 (of Martin Truex Jr.) had great long run speed. The 18 had none of the above.”

Busch was forced to gamble in the championship race to simply have a shot at winning. Staying out longer than most of the competition, he entered the pits on Lap 248 as the leader and rolled off pit road as the leader. When the green flag waved on Lap 253, he fell back quickly.

“(Busch) wasn’t better in any category,” Letarte added. “And that’s what really surprised me: A team that didn’t have a lot of weaknesses coming into the race really raced with nothing but weaknesses. Average pit crew, average speed, I think decent pit calls by Adam Stevens was the only thing that kept them in the picture for that last restart.”

Letarte went on to describe what he was watching in the final laps. While Logano drove to the front, Busch fell four seconds off the pace.

For more, watch the video above.

Follow Dan Beaver on Twitter

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Breaking down Joey Logano’s championship

NBCSN
Leave a comment

Today’s NASCAR America breaks down Joey Logano and Tyler Reddick‘s championships plus the best moments from the 2018 season.

Carolyn Manno hosts with Parker Kligerman from Stamford, Connecticut. They are joined by Jeff Burton and Steve Letarte in the Charlotte studio.

On today’s show:

  • Coming off the heels of a memorable Championship Weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, we’ll recap Sunday’s thrilling season finale that saw Joey Logano become the 2018 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion. We’ll break down the key points of the race and get reaction from Logano and team owner Roger Penske.
  • We’ll hear from Championship runner-up Martin Truex Jr., who finished second at Miami in his final start with Furniture Row Racing.
  • Take a look at Tyler Reddick’s championship performance in Saturday’s Xfinity Series finale and what it means for his career going forward.
  • And we’ll look back at some of the best moments from the 2018 NASCAR season.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.