Matt Tifft Home-State Driver Isn't Lying when he Says he's Excited to Race at Eldora

Growing up a racer in Ohio, Eldora Speedway in Rossburg has always been a very special place to 19-year-old Matt Tifft. As a youngster, he attended several World 100 Dirt Late Model races at the track and he even once lied about his age to score a pit pass in order to get a behind the scenes look at the cars and drivers. Wednesday night he won't have to lie to get a pit pass, he'll just flash his hard card at the gate, walk into the infield and climb behind the wheel of the No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra for the 1-800-CAR-CASH Mud Summer Classic at the half-mile clay oval.

Tifft started the season out running three of the first four races on the Truck Series schedule with Venturini Motorsports, highlighted by a ninth-place finish at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. He was impressive in his KBM debut in May at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, running inside the top five for most of the event before getting caught on the slow-moving inside lane on a pair of late-race restarts and ending the night with an eighth-place result, equaling his series-best finish. The last time he saw action in a KBM Tundra, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte student had a top-five run going at Gateway Motorsports Park before he was involved in an accident just shy of the halfway mark and ended the night with a disappointing 25th-place finish.

While his KBM schedule consists of just six races, the 19-year-old has been keeping his driving skills fresh competing part-time in the ARCA Racing Series for Ken Schrader Racing. Tifft has competed in six ARCA events, posting three top-five and five top-10 finishes, highlighted by a runner-up finish at Fairgrounds Speedway in Nashville, Tenn. He also raced in the K&N Pro Series West event at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway, where he brought home a 15th-place finish.

Tifft will have a strong supporting court around him for his homecoming race. Crew chief Jerry Baxter and the majority of his crew were victorious in last year's Mud Summer Classic with Darrell Wallace Jr. in the No. 54 Tundra. In addition to the driver being from Ohio, three crew members are also natives of the Buckeye State; truck chief Chris Showalter, tire specialist R.J. Otto and hauler driver-fuel handler Brian Carr.

The Ohio native will be driving KBM's winningest Tundra for Wednesday night's 150-lap event. KBM-07 has won eight times in 21 starts, most recently with Wallace Jr. at Martinsville last October. In addition to the eight wins, the chassis has captured four poles and recorded 14 top-five and 18 top-10 finishes, while its drivers have combined to lead a total of 954 laps.

While he may have lied once as a youngster to get a pit pass to wander inside the half-mile clay oval, the home-state driver isn't lying when he says he's excited to be racing in the Truck Series at Eldora Wednesday night. With KBM's winningest Tundra underneath him and the defending race winning crew chief calling the shots, there's a good chance it could be a very special night.

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Steven B. Wilson

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