Matt Tifft excited to be racing with RCR, two years after brain surgery

Video Details

Two years after having brain surgery, Matt Tifft joins 'NASCAR Race Hub' to talk about his new opportunity with Richard Childress Racing.

- Welcome in.

- Thank you very much.

- And we're happy to have you here in our presence because usually Michael and I are talking about you when you're on track in the Xfinity series. So it's good to have you with us in person. And reflecting on the weekend, two years ago you found out you had a brain tumor and eventually had brain surgery. How did all of that change your life, man?

- It's incredible. I feel like-- I'm 21 years old now, but I feel like my 19-year-old self was 10, 15 years ago. You go through so much in that period of growth and understanding not only how much I love racing but also that there's another world outside of here. And I feel like it gave me a cause to go and fight for other people. And I feel like that's been so meaningful for me. And I was so proud to be a part of that 5k.

And that was my second year running the event my first time-- or the second time being in the, first year running the event. So it's so great that we're getting that awareness out there for such a terrible disease that I had to deal with. But so many people had it much worse than I did.

- And your perspective and what you've been able to do to inspire others to overcome their illness, it's got to make you proud that you've been able to be such a positive influence on other folks.

- Absolutely, I mean, I think one of the most meaningful things for me is that every single weekend I feel like I have one or two fans that come and say, hey, maybe they didn't have a brain tumor or brain surgery. But they say, hey, you helped me through this. I had a kid from high school today messaged me and, say, I just got diagnosed with a heart problem. But you know what? I saw what you did to get back in a race car and what you've done. And I can keep on going. And I think that's so meaningful for me, that I had that kind of an impact.

- So special. And I know because of what you've been through. You certainly don't take for granted the opportunities on track last year running for Rookie of the Year driving for Joe Gibbs Racing. Now at Richard Childress Racing, new team in your second year. Do you kind of feel like a rookie again as you learn the new system over there?

- You know, it is a little bit of a learning curve, especially moving to a different organization, new people, new crew chief. All of this is kind of piecing together in the beginning of the year. You kind of have the West Coast swing I like to figure out where you stand. But I've really enjoyed it, and I feel like this has been probably the most enjoyable season I've had to this point.

- Do you know what I love? I watched you race at ISM Raceway and I said, this kid could make the playoffs, not only make the playoffs again, but race for a championship. You had that kind of speed. It's got to feel so gratifying to go to a new organization and be one of the guys that are toting the flag for that group. You and Hemric are doing the job.

- Yeah, it sure is awesome how far I think we've come already and our ways of communicating with each other and the teams communicating with each other. Last year I think, from their five teams-- I can't speak to how that is-- but that's a lot of cars and a lot of people to manage. And I feel like them taking the steps to two full time cars and then that third car with the three car, I feel like it's been great the way we've been able to communicate and better ourselves every weekend.

But even between Friday and Saturday, I feel like we're getting our cars better. And that's important because, without having that communication, you can easily get lost. But I feel like every single weekend, we are gaining on us on sometimes small but sometimes big things, that I feel like we are going to be a championship contender for that reason.