Matt Tifft sidelined for remainder of 2019 season; Nemechek to fill seat

Matt Tiftt in sunglasses
Chris Trotman
Getty Images

Front Row Motorsports announced Tuesday that rookie driver Matt Tifft will miss the rest of the season after suffering a medical episode Saturday at Martinsville Speedway. The organization announced that John Hunter Nemechek will drive the No. 36 Ford in the final three races of the Monster Energy Series season.

Tifft, 23, posted a video update on social media shortly after the team’s announcement, saying that he “blacked out” in the team’s hauler and suffered a seizure. The team said Tifft was consulting with doctors and NASCAR medical staff in hopes of ultimately returning to competition.

Nemechek will make his Monster Energy Series debut this weekend. The 22-year-old driver is rounding out his first full season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with GMS Racing. He has one Xfinity win and six victories in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series.

“This isn’t the way any driver wants to make their Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut,” Nemechek said in a release provided by Front Row. “I am hoping that Matt feels better and can get back in his car as soon as possible. That is what is important. Hopefully I can learn a lot and make Matt, the Front Row Motorsports team and its partners proud.”

Tifft indicated that test results Monday showed no recurrence of a brain tumor that forced him to have surgery on July 1, 2016. Tifft returned to racing 10 weeks later.

RELATED: More from Martinsville weekend

Tiff has one top-10 finish in 32 races this year, recording a ninth-place result at Daytona International Speedway in July. Gander Trucks veteran Matt Crafton filled in for Tifft at Martinsville, recording the team’s fourth 25th-place finish in the last five races.

In his brief video, Tifft expressed his thanks for the support and well-wishes he has received in recent days.

“Want to wish Front Row Motorsports and the whole 36 team the best of luck the rest of this year,” Tifft said. “Hate that I have to miss out the rest of my rookie season, but the most important thing right now is my health and figuring out what is going on and hopefully get to the bottom of this here soon.”