Matt Tifft will race Xfinity full time for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2017

(Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
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After running a partial schedule in the Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series in 2016, Joe Gibbs Racing announced Friday that Matt Tifft will compete in Xfinity full-time in 2017.

It will be the first full-time schedule for Tifft in one of the three national series.

The 20-year-old driver has competed in 31 races in the Xfinity and Truck Series since 2014. Tifft’s number of starts in 2016 were limited after he was sidelined from June until mid-September to deal with a low-grade brain tumor, which he had surgery to remove on July 1.

MORE: Matt Tifft’s Long Summer

“It has been an incredible year and I am honored to have the opportunity to continue working with Joe Gibbs Racing in the 2017 season,” Tifft said in a press release. “I’ve always wanted the chance to contend for a championship with the Chase for the Championship program, I am thrilled to be with JGR and know they will be instrumental in my career. Through my health challenges this year and while I have continued to learn and improve my driving skills, Coach Gibbs, the staff, and veteran drivers here have mentored me and I look forward to the opportunity to be around them now for a full season.”

Through eight Xfinity Series starts this season, Tifft has four top 10s and a top five at Kentucky. In seven Truck starts, Tifft has two top 10s and one top five at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

MORE: Matt Tifft shares brain bond with Dale Earnhardt Jr. 

The native of Hinckley, Ohio, will be matched with Matt Beckman as his crew chief. Beckman serves as the race engineer on the No. 11 of Denny Hamlin in the Sprint Cup Series. Beckman joined JGR in 2007 as an engineer with the race team support group and was promoted to manager of the group in 2014 before becoming race engineer on Carl Edwards‘ No. 19 in 2015.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for me and I’m excited to work with Matt (Tifft),” said Beckman in a press release. “Joe Gibbs Racing has had incredible success for many years now in the Xfinity Series and I know the organization takes immense pride in those accomplishments. You don’t have to look any further than JGR’s Cup Series crew chief lineup to realize the tradition they established at JGR and I’m honored to become a part of it starting next season.”

Tifft is pulling double duty this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, competing in the Camping World Truck Series race in the No. 11 for Red Horse Racing and the Xfinity Series race in the N0. 18 for JGR.