Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.
Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

Matt Tifft Column: Making the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs

By Matt Tifft, Driver Columnist

Editor’s note: Matt Tifft, driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet Camaro for Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, shares his 2018 campaign with Motorsports Tribune as he aims for a shot at the championship. 

The NASCAR season is always a long one, and it takes a lot of hard work to make it into the Playoffs each year. I’m proud of what the No. 2 RCR team has done so far this year to make it to this spot. We’ve worked so hard every single weekend to make sure we’re doing what we need to do to be competitive, and now it’s time to put that to the test.

Coming to RCR at the start of the year, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. When you switch teams, there can be a lot of unknowns about how the season will go but I was really surprised by how quickly we all gelled here on the No. 2 team right away. From the start the chemistry was there and continued to grow each week.

We really seemed to hit our stride during the summer, finishing in the top-10 a lot of the time. I had a good wave of momentum heading into Las Vegas last weekend and were looking to capture our sixth top-10 of the weekend. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and I was out of the race a lot earlier than expected. We’re not quite sure what broke on the No. 2 Camaro, but we regrouped as a team Monday morning to discuss what happened and how to avoid having that happen in the Playoffs.

Everyone on this team knows what their job is and how important it is, so I feel confident we won’t have any mistakes like that during our Playoff run.

Starting the Playoffs this weekend, I couldn’t be more excited. Every single track we visit throughout the rest of the season is a track I’ve had success at in the past and feel very comfortable running at. My crew chief, Randall Burnett, has also been to the Championship Four before with Daniel Hemric last year, so I’m confident he can make the calls to get us back there this year as well.

We kick off the Round of 12 with Richmond Raceway, which is where we got our first top-five finish earlier this year. I think if we can show the same speed this weekend, we’ll be in good shape to be running up front once again.

With the Charlotte Roval in this round, there is a bit of uncertainty. However, I feel confident heading there with how strong our road course program is at RCR this year. We had some of our best races at Mid-Ohio and Road America just a couple of weeks ago, so we’ll be looking to continue that at Charlotte.

The first round ends then at Dover, my absolute favorite track. We had a great race there earlier this season as well, getting our second-best starting spot of third and finishing solidly in the top-10 after running up front for most of the race.

The No. 2 team is ready to get the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs started with these three races – hopefully the fans are too!

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