Photo: Logan T. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Medical Issue Sidelines Matt Tifft for Remainder of 2019 Season

By David Morgan, Associate Editor

Matt Tifft has faced medical issues at various points in his career and after another episode on Saturday morning at Martinsville that sent him to the hospital and sidelined him from Sunday’s race, the 23-year old Front Row Motorsports driver learned early this week that he will have to miss out on the remainder of the 2019 season.

Tifft, who missed a number of races in 2016 while receiving treatment from a non-malignant brain tumor, took to social media on Tuesday morning after the news broke to detail everything that has happened from the weekend at Martinsville until now.

“I was making my morning coffee and felt my tongue cramp up and next thing I knew I blacked out,” Tifft said. “My crew guys helped me down and had the EMTs and next thing I knew I woke up in the ambulance there getting transported to a local hospital. So, I was actually out of the race because I suffered a seizure this weekend.

“Luckily, my test results with the CT scan and my MRI on Monday showed there was nothing there as far as my brain tumor, so trying to find out some answers of what exactly is going on. Appreciate the support and certainly will let you guys know more as I learn more too, but unfortunately because of this, I will be missing the rest of the 2019 season.

“I want to wish Front Row Motorsports and the whole 36 team the best of luck the rest of this year. Hate that I have to miss out the rest of my rookie season, but the most important thing right now is my health and figuring out what is going on. Hopefully we’ll get to the bottom of this here soon.”

With Tifft out for the final three races of the year at Texas, Phoenix, and Homestead, Front Row Motorsports announced John Hunter Nemechek will take over driving duties for the No. 36 team starting this weekend.

Nemechek has been running full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this season for GMS Racing, with four top-five finishes and 16 top-10 finishes in 30 starts. The next three races behind the wheel in relief of Tifft will be his first in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.

“This isn’t the way any driver wants to make their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut,” said Nemechek. “I am hoping that Matt feels better and can get back in his car as soon as possible. That is what is important. Hopefully I can learn a lot and make Matt, the Front Row Motorsports team and its partners proud.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.