Matt DiBenedetto won’t return to Leavine Family Racing next year

Driver Matt DiBenedetto learned this week that he will not be returning to the No. 95 Leavine Family Racing Toyota next year.

“We have chosen to move in another direction for 2020,” LFR said in a statement on Thursday. “Matt has been an important part of our team this year, putting together strong runs.

“He’s a talented young driver and we look forward to closing out this season with him behind the wheel of the No. 95 Camry. We wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

The team indicated it would have no further announcements at this time, though speculation has been rampant that Christopher Bell, under contract to Joe Gibbs Racing’s Toyota team, would fill the seat at the JGR affiliate.

“I got the devastating news that I will not be able to return to Leavine Family Racing next season,” DiBenedetto wrote in a Twitter post. “I am thankful for Bob (Leavine), Sharon (Leavine), (co-owner) 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.

DiBenedetto scored the first top fives of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career this year, finishing fourth at Sonoma and fifth at New Hampshire. He is currently 23rd in the series standings, with a career-best four top 10s this season. He’ll take the track next in Saturday’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race (7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, PRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio).

“Although this is a difficult time for me, nothing is going to stop me from winning in the NASCAR Cup Series,” DiBenedetto said. “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.”

Greg Engle