While the rest of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series shifts its focus on the Chase for the Championship, Leavine Family Racing (LFR) is ready for its own important stretch with driver Scott Speed.
The team saved most of its selected starts for the final three months of the season, starting with Sunday's Geico 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway. In all, LFR and Speed are scheduled to compete in seven of the final 10 races of the season.
"It took a lot of patience early in the season, but the meat of our schedule is still ahead," Speed said. "This is going to be a run that's really going to push everyone at Leavine Family Racing, but I know we're up for the challenge."
Speed will drive the team's familiar red No. 95 JTS Ford Fusion at the 1.5-mile tri-oval. The green flag, scheduled for ESPN, is at 2 p.m. ET.
"We back-loaded our schedule so we could get a better baseline for 2013," crew chief Wally Rogers said. "This will help us create momentum for next year. It also will test our ability to maintain our fleet of cars at a time we're also going to races. We're a small team so everyone has additional duties. But this is what we've been waiting for."
The young team already has made big gains. Speed has created team-bests in qualifying (21st) and race finish (17th) at Watkins Glen International earlier this year. Now it's up to LFR to build on that success.
"We've come a long way this year," Speed said. "Everything we've done has been to build on what we've learned. Now it's time to put all that to work. We've got seven races in the next 10 weeks, so we should learn a lot about our race team."