Tha Sports Junkies 101

Tifft To Pilot Gibbs Xfinity Ride Full-Time In 2017


Matt Tifft will drive full time for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017, it was announced on Friday morning at Texas Motor Speedway. Tifft, who had a benign brain tumor removed on July 1st, has missed most of the 2016 season, preparing for and recovering from the procedure.

Matt was originally slated to run part time in Gibbs’ Toyotas in 2016 with a potential full time opportunity in 2017. But health concerns certainly put the short term plan on hold and added a hint of uncertainty to his long term goal.

Tifft was sidelined in early June after just six NASCAR Xfinity Series starts and three Camping World Truck races. Since returning to action in September, he has finishes of fifth and eighth in two additional Xfinity events.

Matt expressed his appreciation for the opportunities that he still has before him. During the press conference, Tifft said “You know, I think I remember in July probably two or three weeks after surgery and it was incredible to me how much my perspective on life – had changed because, you know, I remember watching races on TV and when I first started going through these things and I had to miss a race for the back issue at Iowa it was like, ‘Man, I really want to be out there,’ and then I remember sitting at home in July thinking, ‘I have no idea, you know, what my future entails for me.’ I didn’t know – I didn’t know if I could drive a street car.”

He referenced the uncertainty involved, adding “I didn’t know when that timeline was going to be. I didn’t know if I was going to drive a race car this year, next year, whenever, but, you know, I just definitely kept the faith in myself that I could get back to that point.”

“That’s what kept me motivated the whole time, but without the support of family and friends and that motivation to get back to racing, I don’t know how quick my recovery time would have been and obviously it’s different for every person. When I had to step out of that car and almost had what I love so much and wanted to do since I was five years old taken away from me, it made me appreciate it so much more that I’m stepping back to that role as a race car driver.”