Matt Tifft The Big Kahuna

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.

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Steven B. Wilson

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