The Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course is technically the home track for NASCAR Xfinity Series driver and Hinckley native Matt Tifft. But until just a few weeks ago, he had never even seen the place.
Tifft, who will drive the #19 Akron Community Foundation Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing in Saturday's Mid-Ohio Challenge, said he played the video game iRacing.com and will race in a Trans Am race to learn the track. He missed last year's race while undergoing treatment for a brain tumor.
Now back on the track and running his first full Xfinity Series season, Tifft is currently seventh in the championship standings. He plans to work with the Akron Community Foundation to help build awareness for brain tumor research.
Tifft joined Jasen to talk about Saturday's race, his partnership with the Akron Community Foundation, his recovery from the brain tumor, and racing against drivers from the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Someone from Medina County will be racing for a legendary NASCAR team this year.
Matt Tifft, originally from Hinckley, will race in 13 Xfinity Series races starting in Richmond in April, racing for Joe Gibbs Racing.
Tifft says it all started, after he went to races with his father, with go kart racing before he became a teenager.
"I actually started when I was about 11 years old in go kart racing over at Barberton Speedway," Tifft tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "and I just kind of did that for about half a year, and started racing all around the Ohio and Pennsylvania areas with road course go karts."
Tifft says that success last year at a race in Kentucky caught the attention of the Gibbs team.
"We opened enough eyes there, and proved that we were able to compete in a high caliber ride like that," Tifft tells WAKR's Jasen Sokol, "so, you know, that really opened up the doors."
The Xfinity Series is NASCAR's 2nd tier race series, right below the Sprint Cup Series.
Tifft isn't just waiting for April.
He'll be racing this weekend in the #24 car for JGL Racing in Saturday's Xfinity race at Daytona.