• 37°

Drivers Matt Tifft, B.J. McLeod create Live Fast Motorsports as new NASCAR team for 2021

By JENNA FRYER

AP Auto Racing Writer

CHARLOTTE (AP) — NASCAR will have another new team in 2021 — bringing the total to three new ownership groups in the Cup Series — with the formation of Live Fast Motorsports.

The team formally announced Friday is owned by drivers Matt Tifft and B.J. McLeod.

McLeod will drive the No. 78 Ford next season. Tifft’s one season as a Cup Series driver ended late in 2019 when he suffered a seizure at Martinsville Speedway. He’s not raced since.

At 24, Tifft becomes the youngest owner in the series. The Live Fast entry joins 23XI Racing, owned by Denny Hamlin and Michael Jordan, and Trackhouse Racing, owned by former driver Justin Marks, as new teams next season.

“This is as big of a deal to me as being a driver in the Cup Series,” Tifft said.
Live Fast will be based in Mooresville and operate with a partnership with Stewart-Haas Racing. Tifft and McLeod bought out Archie St. Hilaire’s ownership interest of a charter used in 2020 by Go Fas Racing.

Joe Falk, part of the Go Fas Racing group, will work with Live Fast. Go Fas Racing, which fielded the No. 32 Ford for Corey LaJoie, is cutting back to a limited schedule.

Tifft made 134 starts in the Cup, Xfinity and Truck series from 2014 through 2019. McLeod has also raced in all three of NASCAR’s national series and ran 16 Cup races last season. He met Tifft when Tifft was 12 and participating in a driving school in Florida.

McLeod was a groomsman in Tifft’s 2019 wedding and the two friends became interested in partnering in team ownership in anticipation of a changing business model when NASCAR introduces its NextGen car in 2022.

The car is expected to dramatically cut spending, making ownership more appealing. It led to a competitive bidding process on charters as multiple groups have attempted to purchase one of the 36 guaranteed slots in the field. Each charter earns an automatic percentage of the weekly purse, and many owners can recover their buy-in costs in one season of competition.

Marks said he was outbid on two charters and a deal on a third collapsed before Trackhouse was finally able to lease one for 2021 from Spire Motorsports. Tifft said he and McLeod were already in negotiations with Go Fas when the market exploded.

“Everybody wanted a piece of the pie and there aren’t that many slices,” Tifft said. “NASCAR’s NextGen car and model for teams will provide opportunities for new teams to compete at a higher level.”

McLeod said he expects the No. 78 to be a top 20 car at times next season as it builds into a competitive program in the coming years.

NASCAR for two decades has been dominated by five organizations with aging owners and little interest from new participants. Roger Penske is 83, Joe Gibbs is 79, Jack Roush is 78, Richard Childress is 75 and Rick Hendrick is 71.

“We want the team to be successful,” McLeod said. “My new dream is to be an RCR, Hendrick, Gibbs, in 20 to 25 years.”

Comments

Coronavirus

Local health officials see record testing numbers ahead of Thanksgiving

Elections

State Board of Elections certifies results of 2020 election

Business

Small business owners seek lifeline in new grant program offered by Rowan County

Crime

Blotter: Sheriff’s Office investigating arson at storage unit housing Royce Apparel Inc. merchandise

Crime

Sheriff’s Office looking for white pickup caught vandalizing schools, church

News

Salisbury city manager tests positive for COVID-19

Food

Home sweet home: Families never tire of decorating Rowan Museum gingerbread houses

Crime

Former Salisbury High teacher faces additional sex offense charges

Education

RSS planning drive-thru send-off for superintendent

Local

Highway Patrol: Fatal I-85 crash occurred when one vehicle stopped in roadway

Coronavirus

10 more counties found with ‘critical’ spread as Gov. Cooper tightens mask-wearing restrictions

Crime

Police: Several weekend overdoses possibly result of ‘bad batch’ of drugs

Crime

Davie County Social Services employee faces assault, child abuse charges

Elections

Political Notebook: State survey shows majority of voters confident in election process

Local

Logistics, instructions for ‘Tis the Season Spectacular parade

Ask Us

Ask Us: How can people stop unwanted telemarketers, robocalls?

Local

One reported dead after fiery interstate crash

Local

Salisbury’s $35 million in water, wastewater upgrades on track for completion in 2022

Crime

Blotter: Man charged with stealing $600 in pallets, 10 boxes of clothing

Local

North Carolina shooting suspect caught after days on the run

Nation/World

Charleston weighs wall as seas rise and storms strengthen

Local

Candy Cane Train makes maiden voyage at Transportation Museum, lights show follows

Local

United Way celebrates campaign with lively finale, but work will continue

Local

Recycling centers, landfill adjust schedule for holidays