NASCAR team Leavine Family Racing is disbanding at the end of the season and has sold its Cup Series charter.
Owner Bob Leavine said the economic situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic has put his construction business at risk, which is the team’s primary sponsor.
“Unfortunately that’s just not something we are able to overcome in order to continue racing beyond this season,” Leavine said.
The team, in various forms, has been fielding cars in the NASCAR Cup Series since 2011 and currently runs the #95 Toyota Camry for rookie Christopher Bell through a partnership with Joe Gibbs Racing.
“It’s like having two kids, and you have to decide which one lives, and which one doesn’t. It’s gut-wrenching,” Leavine said.
The 36 available charters are similar to franchises in team sports and guarantee a starting position for one car in each race plus a share of revenue generated by NASCAR.
The system was established in 2016 by distributing charters to teams that had competed full time the previous three seasons, which created a market where they could be leased or sold to other teams.
According to Sports Business Daily, Leavine Family Racing purchased its charter from Tommy Baldwin Racing in 2017 for $3.5 million, but sales typically fall in the $2-3 million range.
Leavine Family Racing has not yet revealed who it sold the charter to.
The Associated Press contributed to this report