By Toby Christie, NASCAR Editor
Joe Gibbs Racing has announced that they’ve added 19-year-old Matt Tifft to drive their No. 18 NASCAR XFINITY Series car for 13 races in 2016.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to work with Joe Gibbs Racing for the 2016 season. I feel after our run last year at Kentucky that this is a great fit for me with an outstanding and well-respected organization, and I look forward to a very exciting and successful year driving the No. 18 Toyota Camry,” Tifft said in a team release.
Tifft has driven a part-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series schedule the past two seasons, and has recorded five top-10 finishes in 15 starts in that series. In his lone NASCAR XFINITY Series race last season at Kentucky, Tifft started 16th and finished 10th.
Tifft’s slate of races will include: Richmond International Raceway (April 23), Dover International Speedway (May 14), Iowa Speedway (June 19), Daytona International Speedway (July 1), New Hampshire International Speedway (July 16), Iowa Speedway (July 30), Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (August 13), Bristol Motor Speedway (August 19), Road America (August 27), Kentucky Speedway (September 24), Charlotte Motor Speedway (October 7), Texas Motor Speedway (November 5) and Homestead-Miami Speedway (November 19).
The Joe Gibbs Racing team has been a proving ground for young talent over the last few years. Joey Logano climbed the ladder to the Sprint Cup Series by way of Joe Gibbs Racing. Erik Jones this past season became the youngest driver to ever win the Camping World Truck Series championship while in a developmental role for the team.
Executive Vice President of XFINITY Series Operations at Joe Gibbs Racing, Steve DeSouza commented on his program’s history of building young driver’s careers, “We take a lot of pride in using our XFINITY Series program to develop talent. That not only includes our drivers, but crew chiefs and our team personnel as well. It’s great to have Matt expand his program with us in 2016 and have the opportunity to run alongside Erik and Daniel for a good portion of the season. When you add Cody Coughlin to our roster, who will drive part-time in the Truck Series with KBM, we feel fortunate to have so much young talent in our system.”
Sponsorship for Tifft’s 13-race endeavor will be announced at a later date.
Image: Rainier Ehrhardt/NASCAR via Getty Images