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Mike Wheeler joins Leavine Family Racing as crew chief on No. 95

Nate Ryan and Jeff Burton break down the latest NASCAR News, including Matt Tifft graduating to the Cup Series and Mike Wheeler leaving Denny Hamlin's team.

Mike Wheeler has joined Leavine Family Racing to crew chief Matt DiBenedetto’s No. 95 Chevrolet next season, the team announced Tuesday.

Wheeler joins the single-car team after three full-time seasons and 112 total starts as crew chief for Denny Hamlin at Joe Gibbs Racing.

DiBenedetto joins LFR after two seasons with Go Fas Racing.

Wheeler earned five wins with Hamlin from 2016-17. But they went winless in 2018, the first time in Hamlin’s full-time Cup career he did not earn at least one victory.

LFR adds a crew chief with plenty of experience working on a Toyota as it transitions to the manufacturer from Chevrolet.

“We’re thrilled to have Mike joining our organization because he’s had a successful career so far in the crew chief role,” said LFR General Manager Jeremy Lange in a press release. “With our transition over to Toyota this coming season, Mike brings with him a wealth of knowledge in regard to how to build competitive Toyota Camrys, and we’re looking forward to his leadership within LFR.”

Wheeler first joined JGR as an engineer in the Xfinity series before he was promoted to an engineering position in the Cup series when JGR formed the No. 11 team in 2005. In 2014, Wheeler served as the interim crew chief on Hamlin’s Cup entry for six races before being promoted to crew chief on the No. 20 Xfinity entry in 2015.

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