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Matt Tifft Ready to Tackle Madison International Speedway

Matt Tifft Ready to Tackle Madison International Speedway

by August 23, 2014 0 comments

Photo credit: Kyle Pokrefky

MADISON, Wisc. — If one was to pick a favorite out of the field to win Sunday’s Herr’s Live Life with Flavor 200 at the Madison International Speedway, one would have to take a look at Hinckley, Ohio’s Matt Tifft as a serious contender for the 200-lap race.

The 18-year-old driver of the No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet for Ken Schrader Racing has been a constant threat on the short tracks of the ARCA Racing Series calendar, scoring four top-six finishes in four career starts on the short tracks of the series. This season, Tifft has an average finish of 4.25 on tracks that are 1.5-miles-or-less in length in four starts this year at tracks of that length.

When asked on what makes him such a force on these circuits, Tifft points to the quality of the cars that Ken Schrader Racing have provided him in his second part-time season in his young ARCA career.

“I think the biggest thing is just having a good car,” Tifft said. “Kenny’s [Schrader] always been good at the short tracks – I guess that’s one of the strengths of the program for sure. I come from a short track background, that helps a little bit. Going back to Madison, we’ve actually been here before.”

Tifft – who ran seventh-quickest in opening practice for this weekend’s race – previously ran at Madison in a ARCA Midwest Tour late model. Though he has a background at the half-mile asphalt oval south of downtown Madison, he still had to make adjustments to running the circuit in one of ARCA’s premier division vehicles.

“These cars – just because of the weight – they have a little bit more body roll and you’ve got to slow them down more than late models,” he explained. “You’ve got to use more brake, you got to arc the corners in a little bit more. Getting back to the gas is actually about the same, so that’s not too different. But, with the late model you just carry more speed all the way around the track. These [cars] are just a little bit more slowed down around the whole track which is actually kind of nice because it gives you more time to think.”

When talking about his goal for the weekend, Tifft is looking at victory lane as his final destination for his 10th career ARCA Racing Series race.

“We’re going to try to win it,” he stated. “There’s quite a few good cars here, we just need to put ourselves in a position to be in the top-three or top-five. Past that point, it’s pretty much just playing our cards right and trying to get in the right spot to win it.”

As for his plans for the rest of the season? Tifft – who is also racing a part-time NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedule in the East and West divisions – is looking to run in the K&N East race at Dover and is scheduled to run at Kentucky and Kansas to close out the ARCA season for Ken Schrader Racing. Other than those three races, Tifft is currently in the process of trying to piece together several other deals to provide him with more seat time prior to the close of the racing season.

With 2015 already creeping up, Tifft has already been discussing his plans for next season and will hopefully be looking to remain in ARCA and move up to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series on a part-time schedule.

“We’re still having a lot of discussions,” he said. “We’d like to be in a couple of [Camping World] Truck races, but we’ll be in ARCA races for sure to try and get bigger track experience. Still talking about it, don’t have a completely clear idea yet, but over the next few weeks we should have those questions answered.”

Kyle Pokrefky
Follow Kyle Pokrefky on Twitter at @KPokrefky

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