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Matt DiBenedetto won't return to LFR in 2020

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Matt DiBenedetto won't return to LFR in 2020
By:
Aug 15, 2019, 2:44 PM

Despite a recent surge in performance, Matt DiBenedetto confirmed Thursday he will not return to Leavine Family Racing next season.

 Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing, Toyota Camry Toyota Express Maintenance
 Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing, Toyota Camry Procore
 Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing, Toyota Camry Procore
 Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing, Toyota Camry Procore
 Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing, Toyota Camry Toyota Express Maintenance
 Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing, Toyota Camry Procore
Matt DiBenedetto, Leavine Family Racing, Toyota Camry Procore

In a statement released Thursday, DiBenedetto said, “I got the devastating news that I will not be able to return to Leavine Family Racing next season. Nonetheless, I can’t express how thankful I am for Bob, Sharon, 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 has been exciting for us as a team to get top-fives, top-10s and lead the most laps in the Daytona 500.”

There was no comment from the team on who would replace DiBenedetto in the No. 95 Toyota next season, but all signs currently point to Christopher Bell, who is wrapping up his second fulltime season in the Xfinity Series.

Following the 2018 season, DiBenedetto, 27, left Go Fas Racing and decided to “bet on himself,” hoping to align himself with a better Cup series program that would help jump-start his career.

Best season yet

After a slow start, DiBenedetto and LFR’s No. 95 Toyota team have recorded some of their best finishes of the season over the last several weeks.

All four of his top-10 finishes this season have some in the last eight races, including a career-best fourth at Sonoma, Calif., in June. His two top-five and four top-10 finishes are both career-highs in the Cup series since he began his career in 2015 with the now-defunct BK Racing.

“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 (LFR) their first win. I would love to do that for him,” his statement continued.

“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.

“Thank you so much to all my fans for supporting me through this journey.”

Earlier this week, Joe Gibbs Racing confirmed DiBenedetto would drive its No. 18 Toyota next weekend in the Xfinity Series race at Road America.

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Series NASCAR Cup
Author Jim Utter