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Circle Sport, Leavine Family Racing merge, form tech alliance with RCR

Irwin Tools Night Race - Practice

BRISTOL, TN - AUGUST 21: Michael McDowell, driver of the #95 Thrivent Financial Ford, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Irwin Tools Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway on August 21, 2015 in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

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Circle Sport Racing and Leavine Family Racing announced Thursday they have formed Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing to compete in the Sprint Cup Series in 2016 and have entered a technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing.

Circle Sport, owned by Joe Falk, and the Bob and Sharon Leavine owned Leavine Family Racing, will field the No. 95 Chevrolet driven by Michael McDowell in at least 26 races. Ty Dillon will also drive it in the remaining races, but both drivers will be entered into the Daytona 500.

“The manufacturer and alliance switch provides our team with the best opportunity to improve on-track performance and to create long-term sustainability,” said Bob Leavine in a press release. “This was the right time for us to make this change. We have been turning over every stone looking for the right plan for our team and our people in 2016, and we’ve finally found a great fit that’s going to help us continue to grow both on the track and as an organization.”

McDowell has raced for LFR since 2014, competing in 35 races. Dillon has ran full-time in the Xfinity Series for the last two seasons, winning one race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2014.

The No. 95 will use Chevrolet engines provided by RCR after competing under the Ford banner since LFR’s inception in 2011. Joe Falk has ran Sprint Cup cars since 1997 and fielded Landon Cassill full-time from 2013 - 2015.

“The resources that Richard Childress and RCR can provide, including ECR engines, the Chevrolet SS and access to shared information and technology will be a tremendous help as we continue to grow as an organization,” said Leavine in a press release. “RCR has an extremely competitive program with a storied history of winning races and championships and joining that culture of success makes this partnership especially attractive.”

The new team will operate out of a shop in Concord, North Carolina.

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