By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
Even starting in the back, and getting in an early wreck could not keep Matt Tifft from a top-10 finish. Tifft overcame adversity to place his No. 19 Comcast NBC Universal / Salute to Service Toyota Camry sixth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Use Your Melon. Drive Sober 200.
Tifft spent the entire day climbing up through the field after being forced to start last on the grid. In the first stage, he jumped from the back to 16th, with a little help from some back-to-back cautions. Tifft just missed cracking the top-10 at the end of stage 2 by three tenths to his Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Erik Jones. The remainder of the race was smooth sailing for the Rookie of the Year contender.
For Tifft, his race almost came to an end in the first 10 laps. Brandon Jones spun towards the front of the pack. As cars checked up further back, Jeff Green could not get his car slowed down quick enough and rear-ended Tifft. Somehow, Tifft remained in control of his Camry as Green then plowed into Jones. David Starr also got caught in the melee.
Tifft was proud of how his team stepped up to overcome adversity,
“We’ve fought through some adversity this year. We’ve been up and down. I knew that we were going to have to fight up from the back. Getting hit there at the beginning of the race, I was a little bit worried. It is just so cool to get ourselves into position at the end of the race. It puts us in a better position heading into Charlotte. I’m really proud of this team and the way they’ve been able to step up lately.”
This was also Tifft’s third top-10 finish in a row and his ninth this season. He remains seventh in points, 14 ahead of the cutoff for the Round of Eight with just one race left at Charlotte Motor Speedway before elimination.
Tifft believes that one more consistent race will be enough to move on to the Round of Eight,
“I think we’ve been riding a wave of consistency and that’s what we’ve needed all year. We’ve been there, but we’ve just had things happen that kept us from being able to put it all together. I wish it would have been there all year, but it’s a good time to get it going.”
Tifft’s wild day at Dover International Speedway started with a cut tire in the first round of qualifying. Despite having the 23rd fastest time, his team was forced to change the tire and start from the rear.
Now Tifft and his team will look to continue their momentum into the final race of the Round of 12.