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 #NASCARGoesWest swing is challenging for everybody. Logistically, having three cars ready to go in advance so that they can be traded out and worked on in hotel parking lots is no easy feat for the teams. For drivers, we have to figure out what works best for us to be prepared for the next week’s race. Normally, going home between weeks is obvious, but for the west coast swing sometimes staying out is the better option for multiple reasons.
I did a little bit of both during this year’s west coast swing. I stayed out in between Las Vegas and Phoenix, and then went home between Phoenix and California.
We finished 11th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Our No. 2 Tunity Chevrolet Camaro was just too snug throughout the day for me to arc the turns like I wanted. We made a great adjustment under the last caution of the race, but ran out of laps to get farther up front.
My team was staying out between Vegas and Phoenix to help switch out the cars and put together the final details on our Camaro for ISM Raceway. I decided to stay too so that I could discuss our strategy and prepare for Phoenix directly with the team and not over the phone.
With it also being spring break for my girlfriend, she and two of our friends came out for the race at Las Vegas and stayed out through the week with me. That gave me a chance to explore the city of Las Vegas (this was my first time being 21+!) and have a fun road trip out to Phoenix.
We had a huge activation going on at ISM Raceway with Dollar Shave Club being on my No. 2 Camaro. They had put up to 500 small businesses on my car in part of a social program called #DSC500 that they started with me last year. I ended up seventh in that race, which was my first top-10 finish of the year! It was great to finally have a race where we unloaded fast and stayed fast all weekend long.
In between Phoenix and California, I came home with the rest of the No. 2 team. Those cross-country flights are brutal on everyone, but it was good to come home and recharge for a little bit.
On Thursday, it was back out across the states to California. I went in early on Thursday and visited with my friend, comedian Josh Wolf. We recorded an episode together for his podcast, Fairly Normal. I also got to visit the Dollar Shave Club headquarters, which was cool to see.
We ended up finishing eighth at Auto Club Speedway, our second top-10 finish in a row. That’s a huge improvement for myself at a track I still find challenging. There is still a lot I want to learn at that track, but it was a great way to cap off three weeks out west.
We’re now home for two weeks, but I’ll still be busy. This Saturday, March 24, is the fifth annual Charlotte Brain Tumor Race presented by the National Brain Tumor Society. Last year we raised over $135,000 for brain tumor research and awareness.
Fans are welcome to come out and run or walk with us! You can head to events.braintumor.org/charlotte-brain-tumor-race/ to learn more about the race, or they can #JoinTeamMatt and make a donation to the cause by clicking here.