Last year, Leavine Racing didn’t do anything that would certainly be talked about for years to come by fans, but they improved and that is something that they’re holding their heads high on.
“We made some gains and advances and as always sometimes it is one step forward and two steps back but we are excited about what we did,” team owner Bob Leavine Racing commented. “We had some personal bests including Daytona where Michael (McDowell) finished seventh and obviously it was our best finish also. We had solid finishes in Bristol with an 18th and 21st at Homestead. We are excited about that and the steps that we made.”
Now moving ahead to 2015, the team is looking for continue improvement and letting the things that they didn’t get done last year motivate them for continued from success. Michael McDowell feels that they can get better just based on the fact that he will be going into his second year with the team and working with Wally Rodgers.
“We started building momentum halfway through the season,” he commented. “By the end of the year we were starting to figure out the cars and what I needed. I am looking forward to working with Wally again. He has assembled a great team. We had a few changes in the off season and feel like we have been fortunate to add a lot of great people to our organization and with our partnerships and alliances with Ford and Team Penske we feel like we have the tools to go out there and be competitive.”
While they may be one of the smallest teams in the garage, Leavine Racing feels that they can get what they want done – due to how close everybody is.
“We are obviously a small team but a team with a lot of heart,” Leavine stated. “I really appreciate the family, my wife and I, this group has become family to us and that is important to us. They really, really give it their all. Wally Rodgers has assembled a great group of guys and the desire and determination they show is awesome.”
In the beginning stages of planning for the year, Leavine announced that they are going to run a minimum 20 races this year, versus the 19 races that they ran last year. Part of that is due to the returning partner Thrivent Financial, as well as some new partners.
“I am excited to have Thrivent Financial back on board again this year,” McDowell echoed. “They did a handful of races last year including a debut at Bristol. We are excited to bring new sponsors into the sport and Thrivent is back with us again and we extended their schedule and they are coming on to do a minimum of 10 races and we are really thankful for that and excited about that.
“For those of you that don’t know what Thrivent is, it is a financial institute that helps Christians be wise with money so that they can live generously. For those of you that know me, it is really cool for me to be partnered with faith-based organizations that understand the value that I have for myself and my family and it gives me a platform to share that. It is more than just a partnership, it is personal and something that is special and that is what makes it authentic and we believe that is where the success will come from.”
They are also keeping the goals simple – qualify for each race and run within the top-25 as he believes that those are realistic goals for their size of team.
“We are excited about several things, our equipment we get, we run great equipment and I feel really good about it,” Leavine added. “Secondly, our resource are people and our partners and with that we are looking forward to an improved 2015. Our goals this year, we all set goals, I was asked about that a while ago and our goal is to qualify for every race we go to, qualify well, run strong and run in the top-25. With our people, I believe we can do that.”