NCWTS: MATT TIFFT Doesn’t Think Phoenix is a Trivial Race

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Nov. 10, 2015) – Many times when people do not know the answer to a trivia question, such as the ones onGames.NASCAR.com, they simply guess. Although Matt Tifft may not know the answer to all of the NASCAR trivia questions, he knows one thing for sure – how much he wants to win the Lucas Oil 150 Friday night at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway (PIR).
This race will be Tifft’s 12th start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) this season, and his ninth for Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM). He has four top-10 finishes in 2015 and is still looking for his first win. This will be the first time Tifft will work with crew chief Eddie Troconis, although Troconis was the engineer on the No. 51 KBM Toyota for five of his races this season. Tifft has prior experience at PIR, competing in the K&N Pro Series West race in 2013 and the NCWTS race in 2014.
The No. 54 team is bringing KBM-012 to Phoenix this weekend. This Tundra has one win with Erik Jones at Iowa Speedway last July, and was previously raced by Tifft at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in August where he finished eighth, and Chicagoland (Ill.) Speedway in September where he finished ninth. In 16 starts this Tundra has led 294 laps and has an average finish of 11.3.
Tifft will also have some very good notes to work from since KBM teams have won the Truck Series races at Phoenix the past four years. Owner-driver Kyle Busch got the first win in 2011, followed by Brian Scott in 2012 and current championship point leader Erik Jones won the last two consecutive races in 2013 and 2014. KBM drivers have collected four wins, one pole, 390 laps led, five top-five and six top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 9.1 across nine starts in the desert.
While Tifft would enjoy beating his fellow drivers in a game on Games.NASCAR.com, he would much rather beat them on the track Friday evening and take home the trophy so nobody would have to guess where he won his first NCWTS race.
Matt Tifft, Driver of the No. 54 NCWTS Games.NASCAR.com Tundra:
You have two previous starts at Phoenix in the K&N Pro Series West in 2013 and NCWTS in 2014. Will those races help you in the truck this weekend?
“Any track time is good to have, especially at a place like Phoenix. It is one of the most unique tracks we go to all year, so having been there before will help since I can spend less time learning the track, and more time focused on the handling of the truck and how to make it faster.”
What makes Phoenix challenging for a driver?
“I think the different corners make Phoenix challenging. Turn one is such a momentum-based corner, but then you really have to be able to turn and be able to roll in turn three, as well as the short shoot which now creates some hairy situations on restarts.”
At this point in the year, how do you balance college and racing?
“It can be tough, but I have been keeping up with my school work and sometimes just have to do it on the road. I’ve got a pretty heavy course load this semester with some tough classes, but it’s not too bad though. I’ve been able to manage it pretty well, but there are nights when the team goes out to dinner on the road and I stay behind to finish calculus or econ homework.”
Eddie Troconis, Crew Chief of the No. 54 NCWTS Games.NASCAR.com Tundra:
What makes Phoenix challenging for a crew chief?
“Phoenix is a unique race track with the dogleg on the back and completely different asphalt from anywhere else we race. It’s a pretty fast one-mile track, so there is a lot of braking and making sure the chassis in handling well. One of the most challenging things is to make the truck turn for 60-80 laps without losing rear grip. I feel comfortable KBM has a winning setup since they have won the past four races at Phoenix. I’m excited to work with Matt (Tifft) this weekend and I think we’ve got something to work with.”
Matt Tifft’s No. 54 Games.NASCAR.com Tundra:
KBM-012: The No. 54 Games.NASCAR.com team will race KBM-012, for Friday’s Lucas Oil 150. This Tundra has one win with Erik Jones at the wheel in Iowa last July. Tifft raced it most recently at Chicago in September where he finished ninth.
KBM-012 Performance Profile
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
9/18/2015
Chicago
Tifft
18
9
149/150
0
Running
8/1/2015
Pocono
Tifft
14
8
69/69
0
Running
5/29/2015
Dover
Boston
8
25
65/200
0
Accident
2/28/2015
Atlanta
Boston
6
16
129/130
0
Running
9/20/2014
New Hampshire
Jones
7
7
175/175
7
Running
8/20/2014
Bristol
Busch
1
24
194/200
81
Running
7/11/2014
Iowa
Jones
2
1
200/200
131
Running
9/8/2013
Iowa
Coulter
17
25
203/212
0
Accident
8/21/2013
Bristol
Coulter
34
11
200/200
0
Running
8/17/2013
Michigan
Coulter
9
14
100/100
0
Running
7/13/2013
Iowa
Coulter
9
9
200/200
0
Running
5/31/2013
Dover
Coulter
24
8
200/200
0
Running
10/13/2012
Las Vegas
Mayhew
3
9
146/146
0
Running
8/31/2012
Atlanta
Busch
4
2
130/130
75
Running
6/28/2012
Kentucky
Leffler
18
8
150/150
0
Running
 6/8/2012
Texas
Leffler
18
6
167/167
0
Running
Totals
16 starts, 1 Wins
12.0
11.3
294
Notes of Interest:
Matt Tifft @ Phoenix
Date
Series
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
11/7/2014
NCWTS
21
20
124/126
0
Running
11/8/2013
K&N West
14
11
50/50
0
Running
Matt Tifft 2015:
  • Has registered four top-10 finishes in 11 NCWTS starts this season, including season-best eighth-place finishes at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May and Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in August
  • Has posted an average finish of 11.9 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
11
0
0
4
0
1238
0
$172,348
14.3
17.5
8
1033.4
4
Totals
14
0
0
5
0
1696
0
$202,748
15.9
17.3
11
1463.6
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. 54 Tundra:
  • Is currently 12th in the Owner’s Championship standings with one win, two top-five and 10 top-10 finishes in 21 starts
  • Earned six wins, four poles, 1,083 laps led, 16 top-five and 36 top-10 finishes across 65 starts since 2013
KBM NCWTS Program:
  • Has collected three NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Owner’s Championships, 45 Truck Series victories and 23 poles across 264 starts since originating in 2010
  • 45 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 seven 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 @ Phoenix International Raceway:
  • KBM drivers have collected four wins, one pole, 390 laps led, five top-five and six top-10 finishes resulting in an average finish of 9.1 across nine starts in the desert
  • KBM drivers have won the NCWTS races the past four years. Owner-driver Kyle Busch collected the team’s first win in 2011 at the one-mile track, Brian Scott claimed the win in 2012 and current championship point leader Erik Jones won the last two consecutive races in 2013 & 2014
The Troconis Transcript:
Eddie Troconis will take over atop the pit box of the No. 54 Tundra for the final five races of the 2015 season. Since joining KBM in 2013, the native of Mexico City, Mexico has contributed to seven wins in his role as a race engineer under crew chief Jerry Baxter. Troconis crew chiefed a combined seven NASCAR Camping World Truck Series races for Eddie Sharp Racing during the 2012 and 2013 seasons, where his drivers earned one top-five and three top-10 finishes.
Troconis has one prior start as a crew chief at Phoenix when he called the shots for Justin Lofton at Eddie Sharp Racing in 2012. Lofton recorded a 10th-place finish in the 153-lap event.
 
Kyle Busch Motorsports No. 54 Toyota Tundra 2015 NCWTS Box Score:
Date
Site
Driver
Start
Finish
Laps
Laps Led
Status
Owner Pts./Pos.
Money Won
2/20
Daytona
Boston
25
29
18/100
0
Accident
15/28th
$14,550
2/28
Atlanta
Boston
6
16
129/130
0
Running
43/22nd
$15,168
3/28
Martinsville
Boston
21
10
258/258
0
Running
77/16th
$17,191
5/8
Kansas
Boston
9
7
166/167
0
Running
114/13th
$19,064
5/15
Charlotte
Boston
22
9
139/139
0
Running
149/13th
$16,342
5/29
Dover
Boston
8
25
65/200
0
Accident
168/16th
$16,273
6/5
Texas
Boston
11
8
167/167
1
Running
205/14th
$16,841
6/13
Gateway
Boston
19
27
51/160
0
Accident
222/16th
$11,786
6/19
Iowa
Boston
11
11
200/200
0
Running
255/16th
$15,591
7/9
Kentucky
Bell
16
17
144/145
0
Running
282/16th
$15,188
7/22
Eldora
Bell
4
1
154/154
106
Running
330/14th
$37,273
8/1
Pocono
Tifft
14
8
69/69
0
Running
366/13th
$15,475
8/15
Michigan
Coughlin
18
20
96/100
0
Running
390/14th
$15,988
8/19
Bristol
Busch
1
2
202/202
4
Running
433/13th
$31,811
8/30
Canadian Tire
Gaulding
8
11
64/64
0
Running
466/12th
$19,441
9/19
Chicago
Tifft
18
9
149/150
0
Running
501/12th
$18,640
9/26
New Hampshire
Gaulding
8
10
175/175
0
Running
535/12th
$16,831
10/3
Las Vegas
Bell
5
14
145/146
0
Running
565/12th
$16,044
10/24
Talladega
Bell
10
13
98/98
0
Running
596/12th
$18,318
10/31
Martinsville
Gaulding
7
21
200/200
9
Running
620/13th
$14,090
11/6
Texas
Bell
11
8
147/147
0
Running
656/12th
$16,965
 
-KBM-