Matt Tifft feeling better after brain surgery, appreciative of fan response

Matt Tifft
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NASCAR driver Matt Tifft hopes to return to racing this season after having brain surgery July 1, but he told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio on Tuesday that test results on the benign tumor should be available late next week.

“That will tell us what kind of tumor it was, what it could have become,’’ Tifft told co-hosts Jim Noble and Chocolate Myers on “Tradin’ Paint.’’

“Based on that, we’re going to know a lot more on the recovery time. If it comes back and it shows that they got enough of it out and it doesn’t seem to be harmful — we know it’s a benign tumor now but we don’t know if it could have turned cancerous or not, or what kind of form it could have taken, that will give us all that information. Based on that, I’ll know if I need to do anything with chemotherapy or radiation for the remaining part, if there is any.’’

Matt Tifft displays the stitches after brain surgery to remove a benign tumor on July 1. (Photo: Matt Tifft)
Matt Tifft displays the stitches after brain surgery to remove a benign tumor on July 1. (Photo: Matt Tifft)

Tifft, who has driven three Xfinity races for Joe Gibbs Racing and three for JGL Racing this season, says he is feeling better but continues to recover from surgery. He has a 3-inch scar in his skull from the surgery.

“I think the hardest part now is when you’re back home they have a pretty intensive medicine regimen you have to take,’’ he said, noting steroids he has to take to control tissue swelling. “It takes a lot out of your body and makes you kind of nauseous. It’s just fighting through that and just staying positive. Every day seems to get better.’’

Tifft, who also has competed in three Truck races for Red Horse Racing, says he’s appreciative of the support from fans and those in the NASCAR industry.

“I think one of the overwhelming things, other than just the fans interacting, is seeing how much other people with other things they’re going through, other operations and stuff, have been tweeting and sending Facebook messages,’’ Tifft said. “You kind of start to realize that maybe what you’ve got going on is not so bad. It’s never a great thing to have brain surgery, but the way they caught it, I’m very fortunate we did find it when we did.’’

The tumor was found after Tifft went to a doctor for back pain. He mentioned previously having a concussion and some sensitivity to light. An MRI was ordered for his brain. That revealed the tumor.