Matt Tifft will miss rest of season after suffering seizure at Martinsville

Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
1 Comment

Matt Tifft will not race the rest of the season after suffering a seizure Saturday at Martinsville Speedway, he stated in a Twitter video Tuesday. 

Tifft will continue to consult with his doctors and work with the NASCAR medical team to return to racing as soon as possible, Front Row Motorsports stated.

John Hunter Nemechek will drive the No. 36 Ford in place of Tifft the remaining three Cup races of the season.

Tifft was taken to the infield care center shortly before Cup practice Saturday at Martinsville Speedway and transported to a local hospital. He was later released and went home. Matt Crafton drove for him Sunday at Martinsville.

Tifft said in a Twitter video posted Tuesday that he was feeling fine Saturday at Martinsville and then “felt my tongue cramp up. Next thing I knew I blacked out and my crew members helped me down. Next thing I knew I woke up in the ambulance getting transported to a local hospital. I was actually out of the race because I suffered a seizure this weekend.

“Luckily, my test results with the CT scan and my MRI today on Monday showed that there’s nothing there as far as my brain tumor. Trying to find out some answers of what exactly is going on.”

He had surgery to remove a tumor in his brain on July 21, 2016. He returned to NASCAR in September 2016, competing in a Truck race at Chicagoland Speedway. Tifft has had no issues since the surgery.

He announced Jan. 9 that his recovery had gone so well that he would not have to undergo a routine followup brain scan for at least a year.

Tifft also added in his Twitter video posted Tuesday: “Appreciate your guys’ support and certainly will let you guys know as I learn more too. Unfortunately, because of this I will be missing the rest of the 2019 season. So I want to wish Front Row Motorsports and the whole 36 team the best of luck the rest of this year. Hate that I have to miss out the rest of my rookie season. The most important thing right now is my health and figuring out what is going on.”

With Tifft out, Nemechek will make his Cup debut this weekend at Texas (3 p.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN).

“This isn’t the way any driver wants to make their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut,” said Nemechek in a statement from the team. “I am hoping that Matt feels better and can get back in his car as soon as possible. That is what is important. Hopefully I can learn a lot and make Matt, the Front Row Motorsports team and its partners proud.”

The 22-year-old Nemechek is completing his first full season in the Xfinity Series, driving for GMS Racing.