Xfinity Series rookie Matt Tifft will have surgery to remove a low-grade glioma in his brain, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Tuesday.
Tifft, who is also a finance major at UNC Charlotte, is expected to undergo “rehabilitation soon and once cleared by physicians is expected to return to racing,” according to a JGR statement.
The tumor was discovered when Tifft, 20, was being treated and evaluated for a disc condition in his back. The disc condition was the reason given for why he missed Saturday’s race at Iowa Speedway, a race won by his replacement driver Sam Hornish Jr. David Ragan will drive Tifft’s No. 18 Toyota in Friday’s Xfinity race at Daytona International Speedway.
Tifft, who is from Hinckley, Ohio, had consecutive eighth-place finishes recently and won the pole at Talladega Superspeedway in May. He is a member of this year’s NASCAR Next class.
New Chase rule
NASCAR announced that a driver on an “open” team who makes the Chase will be guaranteed a spot in each race of the postseason. Open teams, who are not part of NASCAR’s new charter program, must qualify for each regular-season race on speed, while charter teams are guaranteed spots. Rookie Ryan Blaney, who drives for the Wood Brothers Racing open team, is close to a spot in the Chase. He’s 17th in the standings but doesn’t have a win.