INTERVIEW

Q&A with NASCAR owner Bob Leavine

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Today, I was lucky enough to talk to the owner of the Leavine Family Racing team, Bob Levaine. We talked about how his team got their start back in 2011 and what kind of expectations Bob and his wife Sharon have after forming a new partnership with Joe Gibbs racing.

Q: So overall, You guys are still a relatively new team, starting back in 2011. Can you give us a little bit of a background about the beginning and what kind of drew you to NASCAR?

Leavaine: Well it has really been an interesting cycle, In the first five years we were just part-time and I got into it to help our first driver David Starr and of course with me being as competitive as I am, I really liked it so we brought in Scott Speed to drive for us our second year and then Michael McDowell for our first full time season and it has just kind of went from there.

Q: There were some new changes this year to NASCAR; one of the changes that many have been critical of has been the new qualifying format. Overall are you guys happy with some of the tweaks we saw NASCAR announced earlier this week?

Leavaine: What they did requires more oversight, but in the end It's still going to come down to the draft and if it comes down to the luck of the draw. I would prefer with what we were doing before with single car runs because a lot of these teams work too hard and spend a lot of money for qualifying and they don't get the lap they deserve.

Q: So there have been some major changes including moving the finale to ISM Raceway and moving Daytona to the final race of the regular season. Overall are there any changes you would like to see NASCAR make when it comes to scheduling?

Leavaine: If I was going to do anything with the schedule why not let them run the road course at Indy? I think that is really cool course and I think that a lot of the fans would come. It would be something different like with what we saw in Charlotte so that would be one of the things I would like to do. Also, I'd like to see them rotate their season finale and maybe make them bid on like they do the Super Bowl.

Q: And Finally I have to ask the question a lot of people have been wondering, with this new alliance with Toyota and Joe Gibbs Racing, is there a possibility of expansion at LFR in the near future?

Leavine: Yes. Absolutely. We were going to run two cars for this year with Daniel Suarez and a driver we selected but that didn't work out but overall, I am happy with how everything turned out. I am glad we got Matt DiBenedetto because he wanted to come here but yes we are working on expanding for 2020 right now. It's just a matter of sponsorship because we can put the people on it and we have the organization and Toyota Racing Development will support that so yes we are working to expand.

You can hear the whole interview below.

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A WEEKLY REVIEW OF O'BRIEN'S COACHING

Not my job: Texans outmatched when it counts against Steelers

Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Another game, another loss for the Texans. This time it was only a seven point loss to the Steelers as they fell 28-21 in Pittsburgh. This time around, Bill O'Brien looked to be on his game as far as decision-making was concerned. However, there is still room for improvement.

One thing that I did appreciate that O'Brien did was have trust in the offensive line. The Steelers pass rush could be problematic, but their defense overall is very stout. That's how they were able to nearly make the playoffs last year with a Duck at quarterback. While the Texans did give up five sacks, they weren't all due to poor offensive line play. The Texans lost 33 yards on those five sacks. Tytus Howard and Zach Fulton handled themselves fairly well after looking like turnstiles the first two games. O'Brien called longer developing pass plays and play action in spite of this and it paid off with Deshaun Watson and his receivers putting up 264 yards in the air.

There also wasn't an instance of Bumbling Bill this game. At the end of the first half, there was a minute and fourteen seconds left. The Texans were down 17-14 and had all three timeouts with the ball on their 25-yard line. Classic Bumbling Bill situation right? Wrong! Not only was the play-calling on point, but the players executed and the timeout situation was handled perfectly. First timeout was used after getting to midfield with 47 seconds left. Timeout number two was used after a 20 yard gain after the previous play. A 15 yard gain later to the Steeler 14-yard line and timeout number three was used with 28 seconds left. This set up perfectly for them to call a multitude of plays. They only needed one as Watson found Will Fuller in the end zone on a jump ball in which Fuller rose up and was physical enough to grab the ball over the defender. They went up 21-17 at the half.

Bill O'Brien's teams were 37-3 when leading at halftime. I say "were" because they lost this one after not scoring a single point in the second half. This was more on the defense not being able to fight its way out of a wet paper bag, and a lack of execution by the offense. Specifically, the run defense has been atrocious and Watson either needs quicker reads or to stop holding onto the ball so long by making quicker decisions. That's on coaching to put players in positions to succeed, but also the players to execute.

Ultimately, this was on O'Brien the general manager more than O'Brien the coach. This roster is woefully outmatched. The only time an outmatched roster can compete consistently is in college football with a wacky offense. It just doesn't happen in the NFL. Hey, at least Bumbling Bill didn't rear his butt chin today. Today's Culture Map play call menu was brought to you by Pour Behavior. I suggest getting over there and checking out their daily specials.

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