HAMPTON, Ga. – Eight months removed from surgery to remove a non-malignant brain tumor, NASCAR XFINITY Series rookie Matt Tifft continues to drive awareness for the cause as he follows his passion behind the wheel.
Tifft, the only full-time driver for Joe Gibbs Racing in the XFINITY Series this year, is embarking on his first championship run in any division this season after years of part-time schedules in different series.
But more importantly, as he chases points and looks to expedite his learning curve, Tifft is looking to continue supporting fellow brain tumor patients and survivors by carrying the cause on his No. 19 Toyota Camry.
This weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Tifft has the colors of the National Brain Tumor Society on his car and looks to deliver them his first-career series victory during the Rinnai 250.
“This has been so exciting for me because you don’t always get the chance to represent a cause that you’re passionate about on the race car like what we’re doing here in Atlanta,” Tifft said. “It’s pretty neat to be able to bring them here, have the experience with them and to bring some survivors in to enjoy the race weekend as well. That’s always huge and you always want to go perform well for them.”
Tifft will participate in the Charlotte Brain Tumor Walk next month, with fans being able to engage with him via the Twitter hashtag #JoinTeamMatt. Those interested in joining the walk or making a donation to the National Brain Tumor Society can do so at www.braintumor.org.
“We’re still trying to always raise awareness,” he emphasized. “The ‘Go for Grey’ ribbon is the symbol for brain tumor awareness, so I’m honored to carry that on the side of the car this weekend and hope to move the cause forward by bringing it to victory lane.”
Tifft, whose tumor was discovered last June and removed during Independence Day weekend last July, has been encouraging fellow brain tumor patients to continue battling, no matter their situation.
“The saying on the hood is ‘It’s your fight; it’s our fight,’ and that’s the biggest thing … is that you have to keep fighting, no matter whether if it’s that situation or in the race car. It’s just really cool for me to be able to bring both worlds together.”
He added that the most important lesson he’s found through the whole experience of the last year has been the intensity of his passion for the sport.
“I think, for me, the biggest thing I’ve learned about myself is how much I really enjoy and love racing. I know I’ve said that a lot, but it really has reminded me just how much I want to compete and be successful in this sport. I always try to put the work forth to get to that point and it’s something I’ll always be driven to do.”
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