Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing

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Todd Parrott returns as Sprint Cup crew chief

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Veteran crew chief Todd Parrott will return atop the pit box this weekend.

Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing announced Wednesday afternoon that Parrott would serve as the crew chief for its No. 95 Chevrolet for the remainder of the season.

As a crew chief in the Sprint Cup series, Parrott guided drivers to 31 victories, 144 top fives and 230 top 10s. He was the crew chief for Dale Jarrett’s 1999 championship.
Before the 2015 season, Parrott had been hired as the Xfinity Series competition director at Richard Childress Racing, which has an alliance with Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing

Here’s the release from the No. 95 team:

Team leadership at Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing has announced that Todd Parrott will assume crew chief duties for the No. 95 entry in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for the remainder of the 2016 season.  Dave Winston will move to a race engineer role within the organization.

“Todd brings a depth of knowledge to our team and I’m excited to have him on top of the pit box at all of our races for the remainder of 2016,” said Jeremy Lange, VP of CSLFR.  “Todd has been calling the races while Ty Dillon has been in the car and we’re pleased to be able to continue our alliance with Richard Childress Racing and use their resources to help our growing team.”

Parrott has more than 20 years of experience in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series garage and won a championship with driver Dale Jarrett in 1999.

Sam Hornish Jr. to fill in for Michael McDowell for practice, qualifying at Michigan

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Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing announced that Sam Hornish will drive the team’s No. 95 Sprint Cup car Friday and Saturday at Michigan International Speedway for Michael McDowell, who will be competing in the Xfinity Series event at Road America for Richard Childress Racing.

The Xfinity race is Saturday. McDowell will go to Michigan after that race and drive in Sunday’s Sprint Cup race.

McDowell has scored back-to-back top-20 finishes in the Sprint Cup Series – the first time he’s done that in his career. He was 17th at Watkins Glen and 19th last weekend at Bristol.


Michael McDowell’s Darlington paint scheme honors Richard Childress’ racing career

Circle Sport - Leavine Family Racing
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Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing, which is part of a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, will honor the owner of its partner team with a paint scheme in the Sept. 4 Southern 500 on NBC.

Michael McDowellThe No. 95 Thrivent Financial Chevrolet of Michael McDowell will bear a paint scheme similar to one used By Richard Childress during his time racing in the Sprint Cup Series. The car borrows from Childress’ No. 3 Captain Jack Chevrolet he drove throughout the 1970s.

“Darlington was one of the races that I attended years ago that spurred my passion for NASCAR,” said Bob Leavine, co-owner of Circle Sport – Leavine Family Racing in a press release. “For our team to participate in the Throwback weekend for the first time is going to be really special. We’re proud to pay tribute to Richard Childress, a true NASCAR Hall of Famer, and honor his driving career with this special scheme.”

In his career Childress never recorded a win, but in 17 starts at Darlington Raceway he earned one top five in his 1973 rookie season.

MORE: 2016 Southern 500 throwback paint schemes 

Childress driver & McDowell driver“I loved Darlington, it was one of my favorite tracks,” Childress said in a press release. “It was really narrow back then had guard rails around it. I’ll never forget being there as a rookie and taking it all in.”

McDowell will be making his fifth Darlington start. In his first four attempts, McDowell only finished once, in 2008 when he finished 28th for Michael Waltrip Racing.

“The Darlington Throwback weekend is really cool,” said McDowell in a press release. “I love how we can all look back at our sport and remember the great stories and people who made it what it is today.”


Victimized by cyber attack, NASCAR Sprint Cup team finds help from new partner

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A NASCAR Sprint Cup team was the victim of a cyber attack earlier this year and paid a ransom to retrieve valuable information.

Since the attack, the No. 95 Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing team has partnered with Malwarebytes, a malware prevention and remediation solution company.

The team stated in a release that computers with track data from races and test facilities and personnel information were infected. Those responsible demanded the team pay a ransom within 48 hours or lose their data.

The team valued the information being held hostage — car part lists, custom high-profile simulation setups, etc. — at $2 million. The team stated that it would have taken 1,500 man-hours to recreate the information.

“Just knowing that we could lose everything that we had worked so hard to achieve was terrifying,” crew chief Dave Winston said in a team release. “The data that they were threatening to take from us was priceless, we couldn’t go one day without it greatly impacting the team’s future success. This was a completely foreign experience for all of us, and we had no idea what to do. What we did know was that if we didn’t get the files back, we would lose years worth of work valued at millions of dollars.”

After paying the ransom, the team sought a company to protect its computer data. After running and installing Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, the company found and eliminated malware infection from more than 10,000 files.

“Like most companies, we felt we had solid security in place on our digital intelligence with our software and firewalls, but this is a very new threat,” said Jeremy Lange, vice president at Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. “It’s an area of coverage that you don’t realize you need until it happens to you. We’re lucky that it all worked out, and now having this partnership with Malwarebytes, we hope to inform NASCAR fans and the industry of this threat and the solution.”

NASCAR issues warnings to six Sprint Cup teams


NASCAR gave warnings to six Sprint Cup teams for inspection issues last weekend at Pocono Raceway.

Regan Smith‘s Tommy Baldwin Racing team received its fourth warning after failing the Laser Inspection Station twice before last weekend’s race. Smith’s team will lose its pit stall selection this weekend at Michigan International Speedway. Teams lose their pit stall pick after every fourth warning.

Other Sprint Cup teams that received warnings Wednesday:

Matt DiBenedetto‘s BK Racing team received its second warning after failing the Laser Inspection Station twice before last weekend’s race.

Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing, which had Ty Dillon in its car last weekend, received its second warning after failing template inspection twice before qualifying.

Jamie McMurray‘s Chip Ganassi Racing team was issued its first warning after failing template inspection twice before the race.

Aric Almirola‘s Richard Petty Motorsports team received its first warning after failing the Laser Inspection Station twice before qualifying.

Danica Patrick‘s Stewart-Haas Racing team received its first warning after failing template inspection twice before qualifying.