Matt DiBenedetto out at Leavine Family Racing after season

It is that alliance with Gibbs and Toyota that ultimately pushed DiBenedetto out of the seat. Bell has one more year remaining on a contract with Gibbs and Toyota, with both keen to get him in the Cup Series. However, Gibbs’ team is currently full, especially with Erik Jones nearing a contract extension to remain in the No. 20 alongside mainstays Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr.

That leaves the No. 95 for Bell, likely with even more support from Toyota and Gibbs.

“I got the devastating news that I will not be able to return to Leavine Family Racing next season,” DiBenedetto said. “Nonetheless, I can’t express how thankful I am for Bob, Sharon, 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 …

“I have every intention of driving my heart out the rest of the season to not only get more of these kind of finishes, but to get them their first win. I would love to do that for them. Although this is a difficult time for me, nothing is going to stop me from winning in the Cup Series. 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.”

DiBenedetto had signed a two-year deal with the team and had the vocal support of team owner Bob Leavine, who also conceded that the politics of racing could often be a messy ordeal. DiBenedetto could be a candidate to drive for Front Row Motorsports, which will have an open seat next season with the impending retirement of David Ragan.  

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