Matt Tifft, who suffered a seizure at Martinsville Speedway last Saturday, met with media members for the first time since the season-ending medical episode and addressed his health and future in the sport.
MATT TIFFT, No. 36 Ford Mustang — "It has been an interesting week for sure. It honestly has been a little crazy with everything that happened so fast. I have my man Keller back here. He was honestly my first responder during the whole thing. It is crazy. You never know what is going to happen in life I guess. I was just talking about simulation stuff and the next thing I know I am on the ground and woke up in the Martinsville hospital and that is the next thing I remember. I am glad to be back here at the track and honestly I wanted to come back today just because it has been very stressful and a lot of anxiety just to come back. I had my seizure five feet behind me here. It is a lot of facing some demons with that and trying to get back. Really, just looking for answers now. The great thing has been that the brain scans have been really good. My brain tumor looked great, or the spot that it was in. Everything there looked really good so the next step is getting an EEG where they hook up the probes to your head and figure out what is going on with the brain waves and see if that is it. If that is not it, then we go down the next chain of command to see what could have sparked it. I am glad to see all you guys here and to be back at the racetrack in full health. Honestly, that was at 8:15. I remember seeing the time before I went down. I had parked my truck 15 or 20 minutes before that. I was extremely fortunate that I was in the infield and not driving the car or anything that happened leading up that morning. It is crazy, but I feel fortunate to be here in good health and talking to you guys. I don’t know if I would have expected that fully after last Saturday."
ARE YOU WORRIED THIS MIGHT BE CAREER ENDING FOR YOU? WHAT IS YOUR PATHWAY LOOKING FORWARD? "I don’t know. My goal right now is to find what caused it. I want to be back in a race car but I don’t care about anything else right now other than finding out what caused this. Until then, nothing else matters. I have been through this stuff before and I know enough to be mature and smart enough to know that my health comes first. My goal is to get back in this race car and I want to be back as soon as I possibly can but these next few weeks are going to be dedicated to finding answers with doctors to why this happened. It is crazy but the racing part is going to come back and I will get back in a car one way or another, I do honestly believe that. But I have to get my stuff figured out and see what sparked this to happen."
DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE PARAMETERS WOULD BE FOR YOU TO GET BACK IN THE RACE CAR? "I don’t fully know yet what it will be. I know a lot of states require you to be good for about six months. That is about what I know to this point."
SO YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO DRIVE EVEN A NORMAL CAR? "Not even a passenger car until they know I am good and can get cleared there."
WAS THAT YOUR FIRST SEIZURE? "Yes it was."
HOW ARE YOU HANDLING THIS ON THE PERSONAL SIDE? "It is a lot to compartmentalize. If you guys don’t mind, it is kind of a lot for me. I will answer further questions as the season goes on but I just wanted to show face and be here in front of everybody but I thank you for you guys checking in. I will keep you guys posted on social media as it goes. It is a little stressful right now and honestly just dealing with the anxiety of it. I just have to take baby steps. I appreciate you guys making the time to come see me. Thank you guys, I really appreciate it."
STATEMENT FROM FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS REGARDING MATT TIFFT
JEFF DENNSION, Sr. Director of Sales and Marketing, Front Row Motorsports — "Matt came to us under a two-year agreement and we will be honoring that. We will still have Matt be here next year. That is our plan. Right now the plan is for Matt to drive for Front Row Motorsports until Matt tells us anything else, but right now we are committed to having Matt back in the car."
— Ford Performance —