After a summer medical hiatus, 20-year old UNCC student, Matt Tifft, is set to get back behind the wheel of a racecar again.

Back in late June, a slow-growing brain tumor was found inside Tifft’s head while he was undergoing treatment for a disc issue in his back. The tumor, benign low-grade glioma, required treatment, and on July 1, Tifft underwent surgery for the removal of the tumor.

Photo tweeted by Tifft (@Matt_Tifft) before his surgery.
Photo tweeted by Tifft (@Matt_Tifft) before his surgery.

The operation was considered a success as doctors were able to remove as much of the tumor as they possibly could. Ever since then, Tifft has been patiently undergoing the long and grueling recovery process.

He made his way back to the racetrack for the first time a couple weeks ago at Bristol Motor Speedway, where he took part in a press conference addressing the NASCAR media. Tifft announced that he had been medically cleared by his doctors to get back behind the wheel of a racecar, and he made it very evident that he was thankful to be on the road back to racing.

“It’s great to see everybody,” said Tifft. “I’ve really missed being at the race track. I don’t think I’ve ever been away from a race track that long.”

Last Monday at Hickory Motor Speedway, Tifft took a huge step forward on recovery road. With help from DLP Motorsports, he was able to get back in the driver’s seat and run some test laps at the short track in North Carolina.

Tifft tweeted this photo after what he said was “a great test today.”

Photo from Matt Tifft's twitter.
Photo from Tifft’s Twitter (@Matt_Tifft) .

Flash forward to today, Monday, September 12, 2016. Just over three months after Tifft was diagnosed with the tumor, he has been medically cleared by NASCAR to jump back into competition. Tifft will get back behind the wheel for Red Horse Racing this weekend in NASCAR Camping World Truck Series competition at Chicagoland Speedway.

The 20-year old will now certainly have a busy Fall semester. He still has four races left on his original schedule in the NASCAR XFINITY Series with Joe Gibbs Racing. Along with this weekend’s race at Chicagoland, Tifft still has six events left with Red Horse Racing in the Camping World Truck Series.

Tifft’s past few months just goes to show you that nothing in life is guaranteed. There are going to be some bumps in the road, some glitches here and there. But you have to be able to overcome those obstacles. Tifft has no doubt showed an immense level of strength and determination these past few months, and will be aiming to pick right back up where he left off – earning two top-10’s in the XFINITY Series and one top-5 in the Truck Series – just before the back issues and brain surgery.

Tifft after winning the pole in May at Talladega. Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images
Tifft after winning the pole in May at Talladega. Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images

They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. For Tifft, these past few months have not only made him tougher, but have also made him more adamant than ever to go out and shine on that racetrack. And by all means, there probably isn’t anybody out there that won’t be rooting for his light to start shining bright once again.

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Southern California native who has made the trek across country to North Carolina to chase down my dreams and aspirations in the motorsports industry.

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