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NASCAR Cup team co-owner and former driver Tifft makes racing return

It was a victory of a different kind for current NASCAR Cup team co-owner Matt Tifft last weekend in Wisconsin.

Matt Tifft, Front Row Motorsports, Ford Mustang Delaware Lottery/Surface

Tifft, a former up-and-coming talent in NASCAR, was forced to give up his driving career in 2019 after suffering an epileptic seizure prior to getting on the track for practice at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway.

His epilepsy diagnosis forced Tifft to give up his driving career, but he returned to NASCAR competition as co-owner of Live Fast Motorsports, which debuted a fulltime entry in the Cup series last year.

In May 2021, Tifft returned to driving a passenger car after going six months without a seizure and this past weekend, he returned to racing, running three Late Model races in Wisconsin – Saturday at Marshfield Speedway and a pair of features Sunday at Golden Sands Speedway.

The 27-year-old native of Hinkley, Ohio, won a pole in Sunday’s qualifiers and ended the weekend with finishes of fifth, fourth and seventh.

 

“I didn’t know even six months ago if this would ever be a reality,” Tifft said. “This journey over the last four years has given me an opportunity for me to learn and understand who I am, what I am capable of, and how I can come back stronger and better than ever.

“Having to go through the process of working with my doctors, healing (both mentally and physically) has been a huge undertaking, but a rewarding one.”

Tifft completed a two-day test at Hickory (N.C.) Speedway earlier this year to prepare for the events and test his response back behind the wheel.

 

“When it came to race day, I knew I had prepared physically more than at any point in my career, but the mental obstacle still remained unknown,” Tifft said.

“Checking that box was so huge, and a win within itself.”

After racing full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for two seasons with Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing, Tifft moved to the Cup Series full-time in 2019 as the driver of a third car for Front Row Motorsports.

Tifft ran 32 races with one top 10 finish – a ninth-place effort at Daytona in July – before he was sidelined that fall at Martinsville with his first seizure.

Tifft had already overcome one health obstacle in his career – he underwent surgery in July 2016 to remove a low-grade benign brain tumor that was discovered during treatment of a back injury. He returned to competition in September of that year.

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