95 Days until the Daytona 500

Car number 95 has started 417 races (soon to be 418) and has 0 wins, 2 poles, 14 top 5s, 44 top 10s, and 183 DNFs in NASCAR Cup Series competition.

  • In 1972 a young Kentucky kid named Darrell Waltrip purchased a car and some spare engine parts for $12,500 from Holman Moody. The car was originally the 1967 Ford Fairlane that Mario Andretti drove to victory in the 1967 Daytona 500, but had been converted to a 1969 Mercury Cyclone. Waltrip painted a #95 on the side of it and began his NASCAR career.

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DW drove his #95 in 5 races in 1972, and he still owns his original #95 car as part of his personal collection. He would start the number again with 14  starts in 1973 and 16 start in 1974. Waltrip raced #95 a total of 35 times before switching to #17 in 1975 to honor his hero David Pearson. Waltrip would soon be hired to pilot the DiGard #88, but would return to the #17 later in his career.

 

  • The Leavine Family Racing Team was founded in 2011 with Truck Series standout David Starr behind the wheel. Starr qualified the car in 4 races during the 2011 season.
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David Starr at Texas, 2011

For the 2012 season, Scott Speed would take over driving duties. The team attempted a 15 race schedule and qualified for every race attempted, mostly starting and parking. Speed was rehired for the 2013 season, and the team announced it would run 28 races.  Speed scored the first ever top 10 finish for the team with a 9th place run at Talladega, but left the team late in the season citing frustrations with the team’s start and park policiy. Scott Riggs, Reed Sorenson, and Blake Koch drove the #95 in the remaining few races.

 

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Scott Speed at Watkins Glen, 2012

 

In 2014 Michael McDowell would pilot the #95 car with KLOVE & Thrivent Financial sponsoring the car for all 20 races they would attempt. The team also formed an alliance with Penske Racing, allowing them to abandon their start and park strategy. McDowell qualified the car for 19 races and scored a 7th place finish in the rain-shortened Coke Zero 400 at Daytona.

 

 

McDowell returned to the #95 for the 2015 season racing in 16 events. One of the most memorable moments of the 2015 season involved the #95 car striking a safety truck during the September race at Richmond.

 

For the 2016 season, The Levine team announced that Joe Falk, former co-owner of Circle Sport Racing,  would become a part owner of the team- rebranded as Circle Sport-Leving Family Racing. The merger included a charter (guaranteeing the team a starting spot in every race), an alliance with Richard Childress Racing, a switch of manufacturers to Cheverolet, and a full-time schedule. While McDowell returned the driver, the RCR alliance contributed to the charter carrying #95 car being piloted by Ty Dillon for a total of 7 races. For many of these 7 races, CSLFR fielded a second car, #59, for the displaced McDowell.

The merger with Faulk would prove to be temporary, as the Levine Family announced that they would return to their original name and ownership arrangements for the 2017 season. The #95 was able to acquire a charter from the closing Tommy Baldwin Racing team, ensuring their participation in future events.

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Michael McDowell, 2015

In 2017, McDowell returned to the seat of the 95 machine full time. At the July Daytona race, McDowell would cause an accident early by turning Chase Elliott, but would recover to contend for the win and score the team’s first ever Top-5 finish with a 4th place result.

 

 

In late 2017 it was announced that McDowell would not return to the #95 in 2017, and that Kasey Kahne would take over the Leavine Family machine with support from Hendrick Motorsports.  Following Sunday’s race at Homestead, McDowell will have made 100 starts in car #95.

 

 

 

  • From 1983-1984 Sterling Marlin drove the #95 Sadler Brothers Racing car in 18 starts.

 

 

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Sterling Marlin (95), 1984
  • Other notable names in #95
    • Stanton Barrett Jr., 10 starts
    • Jeremy Mayfield, 5 starts
    • Davey Allison, 4 starts
    • Derrike Cope, 3 starts
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