Is Levine Family Racing the Next Little Team That Could?

by Brandon Rivero On Fri, Dec. 08, 2017

FORT WORTH, TX - NOVEMBER 03: Michael McDowell, driver of the #95 Rohto Jolt Eyedrops Chevrolet, practices for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway on November 3, 2017 in Fort Worth, Texas. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway)

The 2017 season was an impressive season for Michael McDowell and the No. 95 team. The No. 95 team earned a total of twenty-five top-25 finishes and one top-5 at Daytona in July.  Considering that Levine Family Racing (LFR) is a single car team, McDowell’s car had some speed in 2017 which was shown during some races and with his finishes.

Now, can LFR be the next small team to be a success in NASCAR’s top Series?

As we witnessed last season, that little team from Denver, Colorado earned their first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship.  About ten years ago, who would’ve thought they’d be 2017 champions?

Levine Family Racing started in 2011, which is now owned by Bob Levine and his wife Sharon. In 2011, they started off by running a limited schedule in the Cup Series and Truck Series.  Since then they have been trying to make their way up in the Cup Series and have had several different drivers pilot their car.

Starting the 2014 season, as they acquired Michael McDowell they could run full races because of sponsorship that came on board. Things have been better since as they were able to buy a charter in 2016, which locked them into every race in 2016.

Next season, Kasey Kahne will pilot the No. 95 car with former No. 88 car chief Travis Mack as his crew chief. Kahne is a veteran driver with eighteen wins under his belt and five playoff appearances.  Could this move for Kahne turn his career around and make him relevant in the Cup Series again?

The last few years at Hendrick Motorsports has been rough for Kahne and the No. 5 team. Since 2015, Kahne only has one win, a pole and has finished no better than fifth-teen in points.  Maybe it was time for change in Kahne’s career and LFR is the right fit for him.

LFR will have an experienced veteran driver with a crew chief that has gained experience in a big team.  It’s not like Kahne is getting himself into bad equipment, remember LFR still has an alliance with Richard Childress Racing in 2018 and maybe Mack with his experience and knowledge can help turn that team around.

“After Indy I really saw his confidence level rise,” team co-owner Bob Leavine told “That was great for him. I told him, ‘You are going to be the guy here, the star on our stage and you don’t share it with anyone.’ And the experience he brings will help our guys’ confidence.”

Kahne and Mack can be what makes LFR the next small team to succeed in the Cup Series.  There is no reason why it cannot happen but don’t expect them to be dominant and win races next season, that all takes time.  But it could be the beginning of a small team that had very little resources to start that can contend for wins and maybe even championships in the near future.

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