Bob Jenkins will expand his Front Row Motorsports team in 2019, signing Matt Tifft to drive a third Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series entry, the No. 36 Ford Mustang. Veterans Michael McDowell and David Ragan will return to drive the Nos. 34 and 38 Ford Mustangs and mentor the 22-year-old Tifft in his Cup series rookie season.
Tifft finished sixth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship this season, earning six top-five and 19 top-10 finishes in his 2018 campaign with Richard Childress Racing, making it to the Round of 8 in the series playoffs. In four XFINITY series seasons, the young driver has nine top-five and 38 top-10 finishes, and two poles.
"Today is a huge moment in my career, announcing my move to the Cup series," said Tifft. "This has been a dream of mine since I was a kid, and I can’t believe it’s finally coming true.
"I’m so thankful to Front Row Motorsports for giving me the opportunity to drive the No. 36 next season. I’m looking forward to guidance from veterans Michael McDowell and David Ragan and am ready to take on the challenge of driving with 39 of the best drivers in the world."
McDowell will return to the No. 34 in 2019 after completing his first full season with Front Row Motorsports. The 11-year Cup series veteran earned a top-10, 2-top-15 and 10 top-20 finishes in 2018 and averaged a starting position of 23rd – the best qualifying average in Front Row team history.
Next season will be Ragan’s sixth with Jenkins’ team. The 12-year Cup series veteran earned a top-10, four top-15 and 14 top-20 finishes in 2018. Ragan made Front Row Motorsports history in 2013 when he earned the team its first victory with a last-lap dash to the front at Talladega Superspeedway.
The 2018 season was the first for McDowell and Ragan as teammates.
"This season has been a big stepping-stone for me in my career," McDowell said. "We haven’t gotten the results we’ve wanted every week, but we’ve made huge advances as a team. I’ve really benefited from having a teammate this year and feel like I’ve made valuable contributions in return. I’m looking forward to building on that next year and welcoming another teammate in Matt Tifft."
"Bob Jenkins has always grown his race team strategically, and I’m proud to be a part of that growth," said Ragan. "It’s exciting that we’re now ready to take the next step with a third car in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. We’ve made a lot of gains this season with our enhanced program with Ford Performance and our alliance with Roush Fenway Racing, and I think we can make even greater strides next year."
Front Row Motorsports has competed full-time in NASCAR’s premier series since 2009. In that time, countless other race teams have started up and folded. Jenkins is proud of the strategic, steady growth of his team over the past 10 seasons.
"We’ve made it clear in recent years that it was our intent to continue to invest in NASCAR and expand to a three-car team," Jenkins said. "Not only are we here to stay, we’re here to grow.
"We already have two proven veterans in our line-up, and now we’ll get to add an impressive young talent and championship contender who will inject some new energy into the group. With the introduction of the Ford Mustang into the Cup Series, 2019 is shaping up to be an exciting season for us."
Sponsor partnerships and crew chief pairings will be announced at later dates.
— Front Row Motorsports —