Matt Tifft Moves to Full-Time in 2017 With Joe Gibbs Racing’s NXS Team

Photo by Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images

By Summer Bedgood, Managing Editor

FORT WORTH, TX – 20-year-old Matt Tifft will move from part-time driver to full-time competitor for Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series in 2017. He has 31 career starts between the XFINITY Series and the Camping World Truck Series but has never run a full schedule.

“It has been an incredible year and I am honored to have the opportunity to continue working with Joe Gibbs Racing in the 2017 season,” said Tifft in the team release. “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 Gibbs, the staff, and veteran drivers here have mentored me and I look forward to the opportunity to be around them now for a full season.”

The “health challenges” that Tifft referred to came in the form of brain surgery he had to undergo to remove a benign tumor, which was discovered while he was receiving treatment for back pain. The surgery happened in July and Tifft returned to racing in September in a Camping World Truck Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

During a press conference on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway, Tifft stated that there is still some work to be done for the team in 2017, including what number will be on the car, who the partners will be, etc.

“We’re still working with all our partners on finalizing things for next year and, you know, obviously with the biggest thing being with this announcement coming out it’s a lot better sales pitch to those partners that we’ve been working with and moving forward, so we’ll continue those and we’ll continue this sponsorship talks in new ones as well. Just this is – our sport now is an ever-evolving sponsorship cycle, so we’re always trying to find new ways how to bring in new partners and keep the old ones that we have, so we’ll keep on working on it through the off-season. That will be our biggest next task after Homestead.”

Tifft earned his first career top-five finish in the XFINITY Series and the Truck Series this season despite the struggles off the track.

Matt Beckman will serve as Tifft’s crew chief in 2017.

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