By: Ashley McCubbin
Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, among other things, Bob Leavine confirmed the sale of Leavine Family Racing on Tuesday. The team does plan to complete the season, though.
“LFR has to race and wants to race for the rest of the year,” he said. “Yes, over the years I have had my personal beliefs and thought we could overcome obstacles, obviously, we didn’t. The pandemic contributed to that. I probably ought to stop there.”
Leavine confirmed everything he owned from the charter to the build and inventory was sold. However, the chassis, bodies and anything else from Joe Gibbs Racing through their team alliance was returned.
While citing the pandemic as part of the reason, he stated having his own construction firm WRL as the biggest sponsor over the past 10 years impacted the reasoning.
“I could not let it destroy our business – a 41-year old business – in Texas during these times, so you have to protect something and that’s a profitable organization and I cannot rape, pillage and plunder,” he commented. “It’s like having two kids, and you have to decide which one lives, and which one doesn’t. It’s gut wrenching. Everybody here, from our partners, Matt, Sharon, Michael, the family, Jeremy’s family, everybody in here is family. To have to stand in front this morning and tell them what we were doing and how we want to go out – with our heads held high – that sounds real good and reads really good, but it’s difficult to do.”
Prior to the decision, Leavine says he lobbied for a lot of things to change in the sport during a meeting with fellow team owners in early May before they went back racing – and was left disappointed.
“I knew that was probably going to be the straw that broke our back,” he commented. “I had to start looking for how best do we protect our team. How best do we keep people employed. A lot of things went into that decision. Knowing after we started getting into it, and I knew that I was coming up here today to talk to the team. It’s probably one of the most difficult things I’ve encountered and had to do because of our 10 years. I really gave it all I had for the 10 years and the last five primarily when we went full-time, and I committed, and I thought we could make a difference and be a good team. A responsible and respected team in NASCAR. To walk away and not have completed that, I’ve never had to do that before and give up on anything.”