BRISTOL, Tenn. – After surgery to remove a slow-growing, non-malignant tumor from his brain, NASCAR XFINITY Series driver Matt Tifft has been cleared to return to the race track, a process he will begin with a late model stock test on Sunday at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway.
Tifft hasn’t competed in a NASCAR race since May 21, when he drove for Red Horse Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. All told, Tifft ran three races for Red Horse and six XFINITY events for Joe Gibbs Racing before the tumor sidelined him.
Now green-lighted to get back in a car, Tifft can hardly wait for Sunday to come.
“I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to that,” Tifft said on Friday at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he appeared in the media center to update reporters on his status. “Obviously, it’s been a couple months since I’ve been in a car.”
During his recovery from surgery, Tifft has bulked up in the gym, but that’s no substitute for the rigors of driving a race car at speed. The test at Hickory will begin his re-acclimation.
“I think first things first, just going to go do the test on Sunday and see how everything goes,” he said. “The most curious thing to me is just seeing what my level of stamina is compared to the past, because it’s been so long since I’ve been in a car.
“I don’t know what the exact steps are going to be, but I think the biggest thing is just to get back going and get back re-oriented in a race car.”