When Matt Tifft was forced to cut short his NASCAR driving career due to health issues that didn’t mean he wanted out of the sport. In fact, it was just the opposite. Tifft began searching for options to make NASCAR a long-term home even if it involved something other than driving race cars.
Last October, Tifft – who was competing in the Cup series with Front Row Motorsports at the time – was forced to the sidelines after experiencing seizures. The first steps of his future were unveiled Friday when he and fellow driver B.J. McLeod announced the formation of Live Fast Motorsports, which will field a fulltime Cup Series team beginning with the 2021 Daytona 500.
The team will field the No. 78 Ford Mustang which will be driven by McLeod and the organization has purchased a charter, which will guarantee it entry in all 36 points-paying races in 2021.
“I explored all kinds of avenues, whether that was being involved from a PR standpoint or sponsor standpoint. I looked at some driver coaching stuff. I couldn’t drive, so when you spend your entire life being a driver, it’s pretty hard,” said Tifft, 24.
“I went through several months in there, one, I was dealing with the health problems, but, two, kind of a dark space of I’ve worked my entire life to get here and all of a sudden it’s gone. So, I really worried about it because I wanted to be a part of NASCAR.
“NASCAR is my work life and I love everything about racing, so my full investment in this sport is seeing the sport grow, seeing our team grow and to have that opportunity as a team owner is so rewarding.”
Taking on an ownership role allows Tifft to do something in NASCAR that was much more difficult when he was a driver – plan for the future.
“When you’re a driver, you worry about every single season. ‘What does that contract look like? What does my funding look like for the next year?’ With this, you get to plan for one, two, three, five years, 10 years, 20 years, and you have a business plan set in there,” he said.
“That’s what’s so cool about this and what makes it such a bigger deal.”
Additionally, Live Fast will have a partnership with fellow Ford team Stewart-Haas Racing, one of the most successful organizations in the NASCAR in recent seasons.
“We have an open door there and we’ve obviously already got their cars, their parts, their spindles, their hubs, their trailing arms, truck arms,” said McLeod. “We’ve got a good platform already to start with.”
McLeod, who currently owns a three-car Xfinity Series operation, recently brought his organization to the Cup Series. McLeod and Garrett Smithley combined to make 12 starts in his No. 78 Chevrolet this season as a non-charter team.