By AMANDA VINCENT
Matt Tifft will return to the driver’s seat of the No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota in the NASCAR Xfinity Series on Saturday at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta.
“I’m very excited to be back in the Xfinity Series garage and with the No. 18 team,” Tifft said. “I feel good physically and have taken steps to slowly bring myself back into condition for NASCAR competition.”
Tifft was sidelined as he recovered from brain surgery to remove a low-grad glioma, a non-cancerous tumor, in June. While Saturday’s race will be his first Xfinity Series race since his surgery, Tifft made his return to competition Sept. 16 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill. He finished 10th in that race.
In order to prepare for his Xfinity Series return, Tifft also plans to compete in the ARC.A Racing Series event at Kentucky Speedway on Friday night.
“We had a good run in the Chicago truck race last week, and I’m going to compete in the ARCA Series race here, too,” Tifft said. “Kentucky has always been one of my favorite tracks; it was my first Xfinity Series start last year.”
Tifft’s last Xfinity Series race, coinciding with his last time in the No. 18 entry, was the race at Dover (Del.) International Speedway on May 14. It was the 10th race of the 2016 season, but Tifft’s sixth Xfinity race of the year. He finished eighth in that race, his second top-10 of the season.
Before being sidelined, Tifft shared driving duties of the No. 18 with Joe Gibbs Racing’s roster of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers, primarily Kyle Busch.
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