By David Morgan, NASCAR Editor
Matt Tifft is moving up to the big leagues in 2019 as Front Row Motorsports announced Tuesday that he would be joining the organization’s three-car effort in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, piloting the team’s No. 36 entry full-time.
The 22-year old native of Hinckley, Ohio will be joined by David Ragan and Michael McDowell in the team’s other two Ford Mustangs.
“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.”
For Tifft, it will mark three different teams in three years after stops in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing and Richard Childress Racing in 2017 and 2018, respectively.
In 77 starts in the Xfinity Series, Tifft scored nine top-five finishes, 38 top-10 finishes, two poles, 72 laps led, and an average finish of 13.5. He also made the Playoffs in both of his full-time seasons in the series, finishing seventh in 2017 standings and improving to sixth in 2018.
His best career finish came with a runner-up result earlier this year at Road America after winning the pole.
“We’ve made it clear in recent years that it was our intent to continue to invest in NASCAR and expand to a three-car team,” team owner Bob Jenkins said. “Not only are we here to stay, we’re here to grow.
“We already have two proven veterans in our line-up, and now we’ll get to add an impressive young talent and championship contender who will inject some new energy into the group. With the introduction of the Ford Mustang into the Cup Series, 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting season for us.”
As for his future teammates, Ragan will be entering his sixth season with the team, having scored their first win back in 2013 at Talladega, while McDowell is heading into his second season with the team in 2019.
“This season has been a big stepping-stone for me in my career,” McDowell said. “We haven’t gotten the results we’ve wanted every week, but we’ve made huge advances as a team. I’ve really benefited from having a teammate this year and feel like I’ve made valuable contributions in return. I’m looking forward to building on that next year and welcoming another teammate in Matt Tifft.”
“Bob Jenkins has always grown his race team strategically, and I’m proud to be a part of that growth,” Ragan added. “It’s exciting that we’re now ready to take the next step with a third car in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. We’ve made a lot of gains this season with our enhanced program with Ford Performance and our alliance with Roush Fenway Racing, and I think we can make even greater strides next year.”