NASCAR Media Tour Day 3: Leavine Family Racing, Michael McDowell Eager to Kick Off 2015

James Pike Featured, NASCAR, Southeast 0 Comments

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Story by Race Chaser Online V8 Supercars and NASCAR Correspondent James Pike — Tom Baker photo —

Few single car teams are doing more to build higher and higher ahead of the 2015 season than Leavine Family Racing.

LFR, along with driver Michael McDowell, are looking to build up from a solid foundation in 2014 that saw the team compete in 19 races and score a career-best seventh place result with McDowell at the Coke Zero 400 in Daytona last July.

“2014 was an exciting year for us,” team owner Bob Leavine said from the stage on Wednesday. “We made some gains and advances. Sometimes its one step forward and two steps back, but we’re excited about what we did. We had some personal bests; Daytona, Michael had a personal best finish of seventh. We has some solid finishes elsewhere too — Bristol (18th) and finished up at Homestead 21st.”

“For 2015, the momentum is really built off of what we didn’t get done last year.  That’s our motivation. The successes are okay, but if you don’t learn from what you did wrong, you’re not going to get any better. Our team is motivated by getting better; we’re obviously a small team but a team with a lot of heart. I really appreciate their work, they’re a family group and my wife and I — they’ve become like family to us and they really give their all.”

Leavine says his team will compete in a minimum of 20 races in 2015, continually trying to build on their current momentum and master the new challenges ahead of them.

“We’re excited about our equipment and chances for this upcoming year — we run good equipment and I really feel great about it — and secondly, our resources, our people and our partners. Our goals this year — to qualify at every race that we go to, run strong and run in the top 25 — and with our people I believe we can do that. I think those are realistic goals for our team.”

For McDowell, the 30-year-old Cup veteran is looking to build on his relationship with crew chief Wally Rogers and continue the momentum that got him running solidly during the latter stages of 2014.

“A lot of what will transfer over (from 2014) is my relationship with Wally Rogers,” McDowell said of the things he will be able to lean on and build this year. “It was my first year with Leavine Family Racing last year and we really started to build some momentum, you know, halfway through the season and by the end of the year we were starting to figure out the cars and what I needed and just that communication it takes.”

“I’m looking forward to working with Wally again — he’s assembled a great team — and we feel like we’ve been fortunate to add a lot of great people to our organization. With our alliances with Ford and with Team Penske we really feel like we have the tools to go out there and be competitive in 2015. I’m thankful to be back here racing in the Sprint Cup Series and ready to get started again next month.”

McDowell also announced that Thrivent Financial, a faith-based money management company, will be expanding their sponsorship of Leavine Family Racing to twenty races in 2015, ten as a primary sponsor and ten as an associate sponsor of the No. 95 Ford, after debuting with LFR in the Bristol night race last August.

Thrivent’s races as a primary sponsor of LFR in 2015 will include three of NASCAR’s crown jewel races — the DAYTONA 500, the Coca-Cola 600 and the Brickyard 400.

“We’re excited to bring new sponsors into the sport and after Thrivent debuted with us last year we’re glad to bring them back onboard again here at Leavine Family Racing,” McDowell added. “We’re thankful for that and excited about it. For those of you that know me in the sport, it’s very cool to be partnered with faith-based organizations that understand the value I have for myself and my family and gives me a platform to share that.”

“It’s more than just a partnership, it’s something that is personal and special and we believe that that’s what makes it authentic and hope that’s where the success will come from too.”

K-Love Radio, a longtime McDowell sponsor, will also be back at LFR for a minimum of five races in 2015. In the Charlotte area, K-Love, a Christian encouragement alternative to traditional radio, has just moved frequencies to 91.9 FM.

“K-Love has been a great partner of mine and they’ve been a huge supporter of our team and of myself, and to see fans that have a positive, encouraging alternative to radio that they’re listening to is really cool,” McDowell added.

Through working with his driver, Leavine connects with McDowell’s values, missions and faith — and respects the genuine way in which he interacts with his fans, fans of the sport and his team.

“It’s been great, having Michael on-board and we’re looking ahead to more great things in 2015. The desire, interaction and determination that (he) shows is awesome. That’s what’s important to us.”

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