By AMANDA VINCENT
Matt Tifft will go full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series racing in 2017, courtesy of Joe Gibbs Racing.
“It has been an incredible year, and I am honored to have the opportunity to continue working with Joe Gibbs Racing in the 2017, Tifft said. “I’ve always wanted the chance to contend for a championship with the Chase for the Championship program. I am thrilled to be with JGR and know they will be instrumental in my career. Through my health challenges this year, and while I have continued to learn and improve my driving skills, Coach (Joe) Gibbs, the staff, and veteran drivers have mentored me, and I look forward to the opportunity to be around them now for a full season.”
The 2017 Xfinity season will be Tifft’s first full-time season in any of NASCAR’s national touring series. He’s raced part-time in the Xfinity and/or Camping World Truck Series since 2014. He has nine-career starts in the Xfinity Series, with all but three of those coming from behind the wheel of a JGR entry. In those nine starts, his stats include a top-five and five top-10 finishes.
Tifft had more races scheduled for the 2016 season, but his racing efforts were abbreviated by surgery to remove a brain tumor and the recover that followed around mid-season. He has since returned to the driver’s seat.
“We look forward to continued development with Matt over this next race season,” JGR Executive Vice President of Xfinity Series Operations and Development Steve DeSouza said. “He’s shown strength through adversity and a strong willingness to advance his performance level for a long-term career in racing.”
Matt Bechman will be Tifft’s crew chief next year, moving from his current position as race engineer on JGR’s No. 11 Sprint Cup Series team.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me, and I’m excited to work with Matt,” Beckman said. “Joe Gibbs Racing has had incredible success for many years now in the Xfinity Series, and I know the organization takes immense pride in those accomplishments. You don’t have to look any further than JGR’s Sprint Cup Series crew chief line-up to realize the tradition they established at JGR, and I’m honored to become a part of it, starting next season.”
Follow Auto Racing Daily on Twitter @AutoRacingDaily or like Auto Racing Daily on Facebook (facebook.com/autorcngdaily). Amanda’s also on Twitter @NASCARexaminer and has a fan/like page on Facebook (facebook.com/nascarexaminer)