Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing is proud to announce that it will field two entries in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season opener – the Daytona 500 – at Daytona International Speedway. The 2016 season is a major one for Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing, as the team recently announced their plans to run all 36 races with a new Richard Childress Racing Alliance and switch in manufacturer to Chevrolet.
Ty Dillon will be behind the wheel of the No. 95 Cheerios / Kroger Chevrolet SS with Todd Parrott serving as crew chief. In addition, NASCAR veteran Michael McDowell will drive the No. 59 Thrivent Financial / K-LOVE Radio Chevrolet SS with Dave Winston as crew chief.
Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing partners Joe Falk and Bob Leavine have a strong outlook for Daytona Speedweeks, bringing two Chevrolet race cars to the track with two of the top drivers in motorsports.
“I’m looking forward to going to Daytona and finally getting this season under way!” said Joe Falk, partner of Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. “It has been a long off-season with lots of changes and it will be great to finally get this season started. I’m excited to have Michael McDowell and Ty Dillon pilot the two CSLFR entries at Daytona.”
“We are thrilled with our new alliance with Richard Childress Racing and having the opportunity to run two cars in The Great American Race,” said Bob Leavine, partner of Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing. “This is the ultimate stage in motorsports and I’m proud to have two great drivers behind the wheel of CSLFR race cars for Daytona Speedweeks.”
Dillon, from Welcome, N.C., competed in his first Daytona 500 last year, starting 31st and finishing 28th. The XFINITY Series driver, who finished third in series points in 2015, is looking to gain valuable experience in the Cup Series at Daytona as he progresses through the NASCAR ranks.
“The Daytona 500 is such a prestigious race and it’s an incredible honor to be able to compete on this stage,” said Dillon. “Last season I learned a lot and experienced a lot. I got to race up front with the leaders, raced in the back, had some damage we had to repair and eventually finished 28th. This season, we’re going to go out there like any other team and try to win the race.”
McDowell will be running the majority of the 36-race schedule in the No. 95 Chevrolet for CSLFR, with Ty Dillon competing in a handful of races with the team. Dillon is looking forward to working with his new teammate in 2016.
“Michael is an extremely talented race car driver and it’s going to be a great opportunity for me this season to learn from him; especially on the road courses,” said Dillon. “He’s had success in the past and I think the two of us together are going to only get better this season.”
McDowell, a Glendale, Ariz. native, earned his best career finishes at Daytona International Speedway in the NSCS. He finished ninth in the Daytona 500 in 2013 and seventh in the July race at Daytona in 2014.
“I think it’s a good track in that it allows any team to have a shot at running well. It’s one of the ‘opportunity’ races for our team to run up front and finish well,” said McDowell. “The changes that we made in off season -- switching to Chevrolet and aligning with RCR -- has provided us with, by far, the best equipment, car and motor combination that we’ve ever brought to a superspeedway. It’s pretty exciting because we’ve had good results at superspeedways in the past. Hands down this is the best car we’ve ever brought to Daytona.”
McDowell will pilot the No. 59 Thrivent Financial / K-LOVE Radio Chevrolet SS at Daytona Speedweeks and will have to race his way into the starting line-up for the Daytona 500.
“That’s the most nerve-racking park of the weekend. I can’t say that you ever get used to doing it. But I’ve never not had to race my way in so this is nothing new to me. It’s standard operating procedure. I’ve made it in more times that I’ve missed, but there’s no guarantee. You have to race hard and give it all you got and see what happens.”
Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing will kick off the 2016 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season with the Daytona 500 on February 21, 2016. Follow the race team on Twitter for updates at @CSLFR95.