17-year-old Tifft ready for superspeedway debut

(LONG POND, Pa. – June 6, 2014) – Ken Schrader didn’t beat around the bush when he called his driver, Matt Tifft, after he tested at Pocono Raceway Wednesday.

“Well, did you wreck in the tunnel turn yet?” Schrader asked his 17-year-old driver.

Fortunately, Tifft had the right answer for the owner of his No. 52 Federated Auto Parts Chevrolet.

“I was able to tell him no,” Tifft said. “That was a good thing.”

Tifft is making his superspeedway debut at the 2.5-mile Tricky Triangle. It’s been a quite a month for the Hinckley, Ohio, native, who is going from the half-mile short track Toledo Speedway to the 14-turn road course in New Jersey to Pocono Raceway.

“Each of those places are challenging,” Tifft said. “Each track is different for sure. At Toledo, it’s such a fast pace, everything is changing all of the time. At New Jersey, you have to stay focused and make sure to not miss a shift and then there are the turns. Here, you have to stay smart. It’s very mental.”

Tifft is gaining valuable experience this season, driving for Ken Schrader Racing in the Federated Auto Parts car. The No. 52 team sits fifth in the owner point standings, 200 points behind the No. 90 Team BCR team. Driving duties are being shared by Clay Campbell, Schrader and Tifft.

Despite being only 17, Tifft is able to race at the superspeedway because ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards rules allow 17-year-olds to race at both Pocono and Kentuck y as long as they tested and received approval from ARCA officials.

Next week, Schrader will be behind the wheel of the No. 52 car at Michigan International Speedway as Tifft will not be eligible due to his age. He turns 18 June 26.

But, for this weekend, Tifft has the keys to the No. 52 team. Despite a real minor brush with the wall in practice Friday, he likes what he sees so far.

“It’s pretty cool,” Tifft said. “The car is good and fast. It’s a great experience.”

Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell will be at 2:30 p.m. today, with the Pocono ARCA 200 going live at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 7. The race will be live on Fox Sports 1.

-          By Doug Donnelly, arcaracing.com

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