Despite giving Leavine Family Racing its best season to date, Matt DiBenedetto won’t be returning to the team for a second season in 2020.
“I got the devastating news that I will not be able to return to Leavine Family Racing next season,” DiBenedetto said in Twitter statement on Thursday (Aug. 15). “Nonetheless, I can’t express how thankful I am for Bob [Leavine], Sharon [Leavine], 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’s been exciting for us as a team to get top fives, top 10s and lead the most laps in the Daytona 500.”
Over the past eight races, DiBenedetto has four top-10 finishes, including a season-high fourth at Sonoma Raceway. His other top five came at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, with top 10s at Daytona International Speedway and Watkins Glen International.
Through 23 races, the No. 95 team sits 23rd in the championship standings, needing to win one of the next three races (Bristol Motor Speedway, Darlington Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway) to make the playoffs.
DiBenedetto vows to continue racing hard for LFR.
“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,” DiBenedetto added. “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.”
This season alone DiBenedetto has equaled the amount of top 10s he had in his first 140 starts in the Cup Series, while earning LFR its most top-10 finishes in a single season.
LFR has not announced its replacement for DiBenedetto, though various rumors have put Christopher Bell in the car for 2020.