After two full seasons in the Xfinity Series, Matt Tifft will join the 2019 Rookie of the Year battle. He is the third freshman to announce his intention in a third Front Row Motorsports (FRM) car and frankly he can be expected to wag the tail on the rookie effort most weeks.
This is the No. 23 BK Racing charter purchased from bankruptcy court in 2018 and while FRM did not immediately announce their plans for it, no one was surprised to hear they will compete as a three-car operation.
While they won’t contend for top-10s every week, this organization was a pleasant surprise on several occasions this year. In 2018, they scored a pair of single-digit results on plate tracks with David Ragan finishing sixth in the Geico 500 at Talladega and Michael McDowell ninth in the Daytona 500. Those two veteran drivers scored four more top-15s on a wider variety of tracks.
After taking over the operation of the No. 23, they ushered JJ Yeley to a 17th-place finish on the 1.5-mile Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Tifft has shown some success in the Xfinity Series. His first attempt there was a one-off race for Joe Gibbs in 2015 at Kentucky Speedway. He finished 10th. He has not yet won a top NASCAR race, but he finished in the top three four times in 77 starts and in the top five on nine occasions. Six of these came in 2018.
The bulk of Tifft’s strongest runs have come on road courses. He finished second at Road America last year, was third on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and again at Road America in 2017, and earned a fifth in Ohio last year. His best oval finishes were a third and fourth at Phoenix and Richmond respectively – two flat tracks that have some similarity to road courses.
That suggests Tifft should be on fantasy players’ radar screens at least 10 times next year on the twisty tracks and short, flat courses.