Photo: Logan T. Arce/ASP, Inc.

Tifft Sits Out Martinsville with Crafton Set to Substitute

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft will be replaced by two-time NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Matt Crafton for Sunday’s First Data 500 at Martinsville Speedway.

Tifft, who pilots the No. 36 Ford Mustang, was transported to a local hospital Saturday morning due to a medical condition at the track.

FRM issued a short statement regarding Tifft’s medical update:

“This morning, Matt Tifft was transported to a local hospital in Martinsville, Virginia for further evaluation and tests after suffering a medical condition at the track. Tifft was evaluated and released from the hospital and is returning home. Further updates will be sent when appropriate.”

Crafton drove Tifft’s car during final practice where he was only 31st fastest out of the 35 cars that participated the session.

The substitution marks Crafton’s second in the last three races as he took over Paul Menard’s No. 21 Wood Brothers Ford at Talladega Superspeedway for most of the race. Menard was dealing with neck pain and had to get out of his car after Stage 1 to avoid further harm.

However, Sunday will mark Crafton’s second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start. His previous start was the 2015 Daytona 500 when he took over for an injured Kyle Busch and finished 18th.

Qualifying will commence later today at approximately 4:35 pm EST. Live coverage of the 500-lap race will begin at 3:00 pm on NBCSN.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography ranging from Idaho athletics to auto racing with ambitions of having his work recognized.