Fire wipes out 4 backup cars for Leavine Family Racing

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A fire that broke out at Leavine Family Racing's facility in North Carolina early Friday damaged four backup cars, including one that the team uses on road courses.

The team, which fields the No. 95 Ford for Michael McDowell, had arrived at Kansas Speedway for this weekend's Sprint Cup race when it received word that a fire had broken out in the back of its race shop in Concord, North Carolina. Nobody was hurt in the blaze.

McDowell, who has started five times this season, raced his way into the field with a fast lap of 188.904 in qualifying. He will start 31st for Saturday night's race.

"When I got here this morning, I heard about it," McDowell said of the fire. "It's very easy to break your focus and think about next week and all these things, but we needed to get into the race today. I kind of rallied the guys and say, 'Hey, we can't fix it. We need to focus.'"

A team spokesman said authorities were still investigating the cause of the fire, and that an expert who inspected the damage said the shop structure may no longer be safe to use.

Still, the team does not believe it will have any effect on its competition schedule.

"We're still figuring out what it all looks like," McDowell said. "We'll get back and assess the situation and, you know, do everything we can to be ready to go to Charlotte."

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