NCWTS: MATT TIFFT The Big Kahuna

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 20, 2015) – Matt Tifft will make his 11th NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start of 2015 behind the wheel of Kyle Busch Motorsports’ (KBM) No. 51 Toyota Saturday at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Tifft’s Tundra will be adorned by Waves for Water, a non-profit organization founded by pro surfer Jon Rose aimed to bring clean water solutions to impoverished countries around the world, for the 94-lap event at the 2.66-mile tri-oval. Saturday’s race will be the final race behind the wheel of the No. 51 for the 19-year-old driver, however, he will move over to the No. 54 at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway next month for his final scheduled Truck Series start of 2015.
The UNC Charlotte student has gained valuable seat time in 2015, competing in a total of 21 races between the Truck Series, NASCAR XFINITY Series, ARCA Racing Series and the K&N Pro Series West. Tifft has recorded four top-10 finishes across his 10 Truck Series starts this season, which he has split between Kyle Busch Motorsports (seven) and Venturini Motorsports (three), including season-best eighth-place finishes at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in August.
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 finish. In the ARCA Racing Series, he has registered three top-five and five top-10 finishes across nine 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.
The Talladega truck race will mark Tifft’s second career start on a superspeedway. He competed in the 2015 season-opening event at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for Venturini Motorsports. The talented teenager started from the 16th position and avoided several incidents in the early stages to secure a spot inside the top 15 past the halfway mark of the 100-lap race. Unfortunately, a rear hub on his Tundra broke with 35 laps to go and caused his Tundra to spin out and come to a stop on the inside apron in turn 2. Although he avoided contact with the wall and other competitors, Tifft was unable to continue and relegated to a 19th-place finish in his superspeedway debut.
As he tackles Talladega, Tifft will look to avoid being ‘wiped out’ by The Big One, so that at the end of the competition he is in a position to win the ‘paddle battle’ to the finish line and be the ‘Big Kahuna” of the ‘gnarliest’ track on the Truck Series circuit.
Matt Tifft, driver of the No. 51 NCWTS Waves for Water Tundra:
 
As a young driver with limited superspeedway experience, how do you prepare for racing at Talladega?
“With minimal experience I guess the best thing you can do is watch tape from the past races there, but as everyone knows Talladega is hard to predict and how the race plays out changes every year.”
 
Is there anything that you took away from the truck race at Daytona earlier this year that you’ll be able to apply this weekend?
“From racing at Daytona I already know how my Waves for Water Tundra will react in a draft pack and that you need to have a strategy in place early in the race to try and avoid the big one. I also learned that communication with your spotter is everything, because he pretty much drives the truck for you because he is the only one who can really see what’s going on with such limited vision inside the cockpit.”
 
With running a part-time schedule, do you feel that you can take more chances at the end of the race to go for the win?
“I definitely think that we are going all out for the win at Talladega. It’s my last race with Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) and the No. 51 team this year and there is no question that that would be huge for us. We just have to be smart as the race plays out, keep our Waves for Water Tundra out of trouble and put ourselves in a position to go for the win at the end of the day.”
Jerry Baxter, crew chief of the No. 51 Waves for Water Tundra:
 
Are the superspeedway races the most agonizing for the crew chiefs?
“For sure. They are the easiest races to call strategy wise and as for as the handling of your truck whatever you unload with for practice is kind of what you have when you move on to qualifying and the race. There isn’t a lot you can do in terms of adjustments to pick up any speed — all of that work is done at the shop and in the wind tunnel ahead of time. So in the race you are just more or less watching what goes on and one minute everything can be fine and the next minute your day can be done because your got caught up in a big wreck — so that part is definitely agonizing.”
Matt Tifft’s No. 51 Waves for Water Tundra:
 
KBM-11: The No. 51 Waves for Water team will unload KBM-11 for Saturday’s fred’s 250 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.  Daniel Suarez piloted the Tundra to a ninth-place finish in the season-opening race for the Truck Series at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in February. Darrell Wallace Jr. drove the same Toyota in last year’s fred’s 250, coming from the 27thstarting position to record a ninth-place finish.
 
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
2/20/2015
Daytona
Suarez
30
9
100/100
5
running
10/18/2014
Talladega
Wallace Jr.
27
9
95/95
0
Running
2/22/2014
Daytona
Wallace Jr.
16
26
76/100
0
Accident
10/19/2013
Talladega
Wallace Jr.
10
17
94/94
4
Running
2/22/2013
Daytona
Wallace Jr.
14
12
100/100
0
Running
10/6/2012
Talladega
Kurt Busch
6
7
94/94
2
Running
2/24/2012
Daytona
Leffler
6
36
17/109
0
Accident
Totals
7 starts, 0 Wins
15.6
16.6
11
Notes of Interest:
 
Matt Tifft @ Talladega Superspeedway
  • Making his first start in any series at the 2.66-mile Tri-oval 
Matt Tifft 2015
  • Has registered four top-10 finishes in 10 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 11.9 across nine 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
10
0
0
4
0
1142
0
$157,369
15.1
17.0
7
1473.7
4
Totals
13
0
0
5
0
1600
0
$187,769
16.6
16.8
10
1903.9
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 across 18 starts between drivers Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez and Matt Tifft and currently ranks fifth in the 2015 NCWTS Owner’s championship point standings, 73 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 255 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 @ Talladega Superspeedway
  • KBM drivers have collected one win (Kyle Busch, 2010), one top-five and seven top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 10.7 across 10 starts at Talladega
  • Kyle Busch’s win by 0.002 seconds over Aric Almirola in 2010 was the closest finish in Truck Series history since electronic scoring was instituted 
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-10 finishes and an average finish of 12.0 across three starts at Talladega.
 
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
10/3
Las Vegas
Tifft
18
19
143/146
0
running
628/5th
$15,406
 
-KBM-