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NASCAR driver Matt Tifft returning to track after brain surgery

Matt Tifft, in a 2014 photo, says he will return to racing Friday at Chicagoland Speedway after having brain surgery July 1.
Matt Tifft, in a 2014 photo, says he will return to racing Friday at Chicagoland Speedway after having brain surgery July 1. NASCAR via Getty Images

Matt Tifft, a UNC Charlotte student who has missed 10 weeks of NASCAR racing while recovering from brain surgery, will return Friday in the Truck series at Chicagoland Speedway.

Tifft, 20, had a non-cancerous growth removed from his brain on July 1. The tumor was discovered earlier this summer when Tifft was treated and evaluated for a disc condition in his back.

A NASCAR official confirmed Tuesday that Tifft has been approved to return. Tifft tweeted Monday that his first competitive race back will be at Chicagoland’s Truck race on Friday.

Tifft, who is from Hinckley, Ohio, and is a finance major, was running full time for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity series before the diagnosis. He 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.

Tifft will drive the Red Horse Racing No. 32 Truck on Friday. He has also tweeted that he tested Monday at Hickory Motor Speedway and has been practicing in a race simulator.

New crew chief for Allmendinger

Drew Blickensderfer will take over as crew chief for AJ Allmendinger, Richard Petty Motorsports announced Tuesday. Trent Owens, who had been the crew chief on Allmendinger’s No. 43 Chevy, has been reassigned to another position in RPM. Allmendinger didn’t make the Chase this season and has two top-five finishes. His best finish is a second at Martinsville.

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