Matt Tifft Column: NASCAR Throwback at Darlington Raceway

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. 

I’m really looking forward to getting to Darlington Raceway this weekend to see all the throwback NASCAR paint schemes out on the track. This weekend is always a fun one, both as a driver to participate in and as a fan to see.

This year, I’m excited to be honoring longtime friend of Richard Childress, Dave Marcis, with our No. 2 Surface Sunscreen Camaro modeled after his 1976 Chevrolet. Dave was also very close to Dale Earnhardt Sr. and has a family tie to RCR since his nephew, Bob, currently works as our head of suspension in the Xfinity shop on campus.

Dave didn’t drive for RCR other than one truck race in 1995, but he did play a big role in helping test and set-up cars for Dale Sr. He even tested and helped prepare the No. 3 Chevrolet that Dale ended up winning the 1998 Daytona 500 with.

He also has a connection with Realtree, one of RCR’s longest partners, who he got in contact with after he, Richard, and Dale Sr. had got hunting a few times together. Realtree was a big supporter of Dave, and continues to be one at RCR, so I’m happy to have them on our No. 2 Camaro this weekend as well. It’s my first time with them on my car, so hopefully we’ll run well for them!

Heading into the race weekend at Darlington, I’m approaching it very similarly to how I approached other tracks as a rookie. Last year, I only got one lap in during the race since early contact ended our day right away. I’ll be leaning on my teammates for some advice and hitting the simulator a lot to help prepare for the race weekend.

I know there will be a learning curve for me. A track like Darlington is one of the most challenging ones we have left on the circuit. Tire fall-off and conservation will be big and the change of pace throughout the race will be new to me this time around, but I still feel confident going into the weekend. Tough tracks have been a strong suit for our No. 2 team this year, and I see no reason why we can’t record another great finish this weekend.

Now it’s off to find some wingtip shoes to wear like Dave!

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