Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

2019 Cup Series Season Preview: Matt Tifft

By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent

*Editor’s note: Motorsports Tribune will be previewing the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season for the full-time drivers in the series leading into next month’s 61st running of the Daytona 500.

Age: 22

Years in Cup: Rookie Season

Career Wins: Zero

Coming off of a career season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Matt Tifft will move up to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in 2019. The Hinckley, Ohio native will move from the Chevrolet Camaros of Richard Childress Racing to Front Row Motorsports’ brand new Ford Mustangs.

For Tifft, the ascension to NASCAR’s Premier Series has been an arduous one. In 2016, the then-Joe Gibbs Racing driver was sidelined by a brain tumor. Just months after a successful surgery, Tifft returned to the Xfinity Series, finishing an impressive fifth.

Tifft has two full seasons in the NASCAR Xfinity Series under his belt. In 77 total starts, his best finish came at Road America for RCR. Tifft was runner-up to fellow Chevy Racing driver Justin Allgaier that day.

In those 77 starts, Tifft has earned nine top-five and 38 top-10 finishes. He also earned two pole positions, including one at Road America last year.

“Today is a huge moment in my career, announcing my move to the Cup series,” said Tifft. “This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, and I can’t believe it’s finally coming true.

“I’m so thankful to Front Row Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to drive the No. 36 next season. I’m looking forward to guidance from veterans Michael McDowell and David Ragan and am ready to take on the challenge of driving with 39 of the best drivers in the world.”

The Bob Jenkins-owned Front Row Motorsports last fielded three full-time teams in 2013. The organization, which will be entering its 10th full-time season in 2019 has two victories, six top-five, and 16 top-10 finishes. David Gilliland earned the team’s only pole position in 2014.

In addition to adding Tifft to their stable, Front Row Motorsports will make move from their Statesville, N.C. race shop to the former MDM Motorsports race shop in Mooresville, N.C.

For Tifft, many unknowns lie ahead in 2019. He is joining a team that has been improving but will have to contend with a new body style, race shop, and rules package.

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Seth Eggert has followed NASCAR his entire life. Seth is currently pursuing a writing career and is majoring in Communications and Journalism. He is an avid iRacer and video gamer. Seth also tutors students at Mitchell Community College in multiple subjects. He has an Associate's Degree in History.