NCWTS: MATT TIFFT Looking to Hit the Jackpot in his NASCAR Slots Games Tundra

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 29, 2015) – Matt Tifft heads to Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway where he will be making what he hopes is his lucky 13th career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in Saturday night’s Rhino Linings 350. The 19-year-old student isn’t old enough to hit the sports books during his visit to the Gambling Capital of the World, but he will be looking to parlay a strong showing in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut last weekend at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta into his first career NASCAR win this weekend.
The UNC Charlotte student has gained valuable seat time in 2015, entering a total of 19 contests with his action split between the Truck Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series, ARCA Racing Series and the K&N Pro Series West. In his most recent proposition, the Ohio native was within striking distance of pulling off a longshot win in his XFINITY Series debut with Joe Gibbs Racing. Tifft ran second late in the race and started third on the next-to-last restart before getting shuffled back and ending the day with the 10th-place payout.
Tifft has recorded four top-10 finishes across his nine Truck Series starts this season, which he has split between Kyle Busch Motorsports (six) and Venturini Motorsports (three), including season-best eighth-place finishes at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in August. In the ARCA Racing Series, he has registered three top-five and five top-10 finishes across eight starts, including a runner-up finish in April at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. Eight of his ARCA Racing starts came for Ken Schrader Racing, while he also made one start for Venturini Motorsports. The talented youngster also competed in one NASCAR K&N Pro Series West race, finishing 14th for Jefferson-Pitts Racing at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway in June.
KBM’s most recent visit to Las Vegas was a successful one as the team cashed in on its first victory at the home track of its namesake. Darrell Wallace Jr. had the fastest truck for most of the 146-lap event and led a race-high 84 laps, but surrendered the lead to teammate Erik Jones with 14 laps remaining.  Jones remained out front the rest of the way en route to his third career Truck Series victory. Tifft’s efffort this weekend will be led by veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter, who called the shots for Wallace Jr.’s runner-up finish last year and produced a top-five in 2013 as well.
With 12 career Truck Series starts in the hopper, Tifft has progressively gained confidence each time he pulls the shifter lever and the field rolls. While it will be the 19-year-old’s first start at Las Vegas in any carousal, he’ll have three-and-a-half hours of practice to find the winning line around the 1.5-mile venue. As the field comes off Turn 4 toward the finish line Saturday night, he hopes to be far enough out front that nobody can reel him in as he looks to hit the jackpot in his NASCAR Slots Games Tundra.
Matt Tifft, driver of the No. 54 NCWTS NASCAR Slots Games Tundra:
 
Las Vegas will be a new track for you, how have you prepared for it?
“The biggest thing is that I’ve watched a lot of film of previous races at Las Vegas to see if there were any trends. Watching last year’s race the KBM trucks were really strong and were able to bring home a one-two finish, so I’m looking forward to getting behind the wheel of my NASCAR Slots Games Tundra on Saturday. I would say that my overall confidence is up coming off a strong run at Kentucky in my first career XFINITY Series start, so I’m really looking forward to getting right back behind the wheel this weekend at Las Vegas.”
Is it challenging bouncing back and forth between different teams and series, or do you find it beneficial because you are able to get advice from a lot of different people?
“It can be challenging, but with not having a full-time schedule in any series this season, working with all of the different teams I have this year has allowed me to gain more seat time and get a lot of feedback from the different crew chiefs and teams — which is very valuable to a young driver. I’m looking forward to working with Jerry (Baxter) and the 51 guys again this weekend. We had a really fast Tundra in our first race together at Charlotte earlier this season, so with Las Vegas being another fast mile-and-a-half track I’m confident that we’ll be able to run up front again. I’ve learned so much more about the aero dependency of the trucks since the Charlotte race, so I feel like the driver will be able to get more out of the truck this time around.”
Jerry Baxter, crew chief of the No. 54 NCWTS NASCAR Slots Games Tundra:
 
In your first race working with Matt you had a solid run at Charlotte earlier this season. Are you excited about getting back to another fast mile-and-a-half track this weekend?
“That was our first race working together and we definitely had a lot of speed. Since that time he’s gained a lot more experience on the intermediate tracks — especially recently he’s been racing on them almost every week. I spent a lot of time with him this week talking things over and going through the notes and you can tell he has a lot of confidence right now. We have really good notes from last year when Bubba (Darrell Wallace Jr.) led the most laps — although they are bringing a little bit of a different tire this time. All three of our teams have been working well together in recent weeks and with KBM bringing three young drivers to Las Vegas, we’re going to need to do that again this weekend.”
Matt Tifft’s No. 54 NASCAR Slots Games Tundra:
 
KBM-16: The No. 54 NASCAR Slots Games team will unload KBM-16 for Saturday night’s Rhino Linings 350 at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway. The Tundra scored a runner-up finish at Dover (Del.) International Speedway with Daniel Suarez earlier this season in its lone start of 2015. The truck was scheduled to race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, but the team was forced to a backup after an accident in practice. The chassis will make its first start since being refurbished after the Bristol accident.
 
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
5/29/2015
Dover
Suarez
5
2
200/200
0
Running
9/13/2014
Chicago
Wallace Jr.
6
6
150/150
10
Running
8/16/2014
Michigan
Wallace Jr.
4
11
99/100
48
Running
6/26/2014
Kentucky
Wallace Jr.
2
2
150/150
34
Running
6/6/2014
Texas
Wallace Jr.
7
10
166/167
0
Running
5/9/2014
Kansas
Wallace Jr.
21
15
156/167
0
Running
11/1/2013
Texas
Wallace, Jr.
17
7
147/147
0
Running
9/28/2013
Las Vegas
Wallace, Jr.
17
5
146/146
23
Running
9/13/2013
Chicago
Wallace, Jr.
13
11
150/150
0
Running
8/3/2013
Pocono
Wallace, Jr.
5
7
54/54
2
Running
6/7/2013
Texas
Wallace, Jr.
16
6
167/167
0
Running
5/17/2013
Charlotte
Wallace, Jr.
13
27
121/134
0
Accident
4/20/2013
Kansas
Wallace, Jr.
15
7
167/167
8
Running
Totals
13 starts, 0 Wins
10.8
8.9
125
Notes of Interest:
 
Matt Tifft @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • Making his first start in any series at the Nevada track 
Matt Tifft 2015
  • Has registered four top-10 finishes in nine NCWTS starts this season, including season-best eighth-place finishes at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in August
  • Was running second in his NASCAR XFINITY Series debut at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, but got shuffled back on a late-race restart and ended with a 10th-place finish (9/26/15)
  • Has posted an average finish of 11.5 across eight ARCA Racing starts, including a runner-up finish at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn.
  • Finished 15th in the K&N Pro Series West race at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway (6/27/15) 
Matt Tifft NCWTS Career Stats:
 
Year
Races
Win
Top 5
Top 10
Pole
Laps
Led
Earnings
AvSt
AvFn
RAF
Miles
LLF
2014
3
0
0
1
0
458
0
$30,400
21.7
16.3
3
430.2
2
2015
9
0
0
4
0
999
0
$141,963
14.8
16.8
6
1259.2
4
Totals
12
0
0
5
0
1457
0
$172,363
16.5
16.7
9
1689.4
6
 
Matt Tifft 2014
  • Eighth-place finish in his NCWTS debut at Martinsville Speedway in October was his best result across three starts
  • Produced five top-five and seven top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish at Kentucky Speedway in September, across his 10 ARCA Racing Series starts
  • Collected two top-10 finishes across six NASCAR K&N Pro Series East starts
  • Finished 10th in his lone NASCAR K&N Pro Series West start
Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51 Tundra:
  • The No. 51 team has collected two wins, eight top-five and 12 top-10 finishes between drivers Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez and Matt Tifft and currently ranks fifth in the 2015 NCWTS Owner’s championship point standings, 63 points behind the series-leading No. 4 team
  • The No. 51Tundra team has compiled 19 of KBM’s 44 NCWTS victories, the most of any truck number in the team’s stable, and are the two-time reigning NCWTS Owner’s champions 
KBM NCWTS Program
  • Has collected three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championships, 44 Truck Series victories and 23 poles across 252 starts since originating in 2010
  • 44 career Truck Series victories as an organization ranks second all-time behind Roush Fenway (50)
  • 14 victories as an organization during the 2014 season broke the Truck Series record of 12 set by Ultra Motorsports in 2001
  • Seven different drivers have won a race for KBM, led by owner-driver Kyle Busch with 28. Erik Jones has collected six victories, Darrell Wallace Jr., has five wins, Denny Hamlin produced two victories and Christopher Bell, Kasey Kahne and Brian Scott all collected one triumph
  • Has collected victories at 20 of the 21 tracks on the 2015 schedule, excluding Atlanta Motor Speedway
KBM NCWTS @ Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • KBM drivers have collected one win, three top-five and five top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.2 across eight starts at Las Vegas
  • Erik Jones picked up KBM’s first victory at Las Vegas in last year’s event after taking the lead from teammate Darrell Wallace Jr., with 14 laps remaining
  • Wallace Jr., led a race-high 84 laps in last year’s event and came home in the runner-up position to give KBM a one-two finish 
The Book on Baxter:
Veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter is currently in his third season atop the pit box for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Under the California native’s guidance, Darrell Wallace Jr. finished third in the Truck Series championship standings in 2014 and led all series regulars in wins (four), laps led (623), driver rating (109.5) and fastest laps run (280). Combined in two seasons working with Wallace Jr., Baxter posted five wins, three poles, 963 laps led, 14 top-five and 26 top-10 finishes across 44 starts. In addition to his seven wins at KBM, he boasts one other Truck Series win (Cale Gale, 2012) and one NASCAR XFINITY Series win (David Reutimann, 2007).
Baxter’s Truck Series drivers have posted two top-five and three top-10 finishes at Las Vegas, including Darrell Wallace Jr.’s, runner-up finish in last year’s event.
Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 51 Tundra 2015 NCWTS Box Score:
 
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Owner Pts./Pos.
Money Won
2/20
Daytona
Suarez
30
9
100/100
5
running
36/9th
$20,786
2/28
Atlanta
Suarez
4
4
130/130
1
running
77/4th
$21,261
3/28
Martinsville
Suarez
11
6
258/258
0
running
115/4th
$16,574
5/8
Kansas
Suarez
10
6
167/167
1
running
154/4th
$17,277
5/15
Charlotte
Tifft
3
8
139/139
0
running
190/4th
$16,481
5/29
Dover
Suarez
5
2
200/200
0
running
232/4th
$33,106
6/5
Texas
Suarez
3
2
167/167
6
running
275/3rd
$41,559
6/13
Gateway
Tifft
8
25
92/167
0
accident
294/5th
$12,019
6/19
Iowa
Bell
10
5
200/200
0
running
333/4th
$18,646
7/9
Kentucky
Suarez
4
4
145/145
18
running
374/4th
$22,029
7/22
Eldora
Tifft
22
21
154/154
0
running
397/4th
$13,952
8/1
Pocono
Busch
2
1
69/69
53
running
445/4th
$41,542
8/15
Michigan
Busch
10
1
100/100
44
running
493/4th
$43,447
8/19
Bristol
Suarez
16
30
154/202
0
overheating
507/4th
$11,202
8/30
Canadian Tire
Tifft
15
23
56/64
0
running
528/5th
$15,566
9/19
Chicago
Suarez
6
4
150/150
3
running
569/5th
$19,769
9/26
New Hampshire
Busch
2
11
175/175
67
running
603/5th
$12,915
-KBM-