{{custom_field.name}}

Joe Graf Jr. wants more than a podium finish in Toledo Speedway return

TOLEDO, Ohio – Joe Graf Jr. (@JoeGrafJr.) is on a streak in ARCA Menards Series competition.

But like any race car driver, he’s not satisfied unless he’s winning.

He’ll get his chance when the series treks to Toledo Speedway for Sunday afternoon’s running of the Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Federated Car Care.

Graf Jr., driver of the No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion for Mooresville, N.C.-based Chad Bryant Racing is seeking his fourth consecutive top-10 finish in his second start at the iconic half-mile oval. Amongst his championship contenders, no other driver carries an active streak as Graf Jr.

While his sophomore season of ARCA competition didn’t start off on the right foot, Graf Jr. and championship crew chief Chad Bryant have methodically been working on getting Graf’s race cars better and the veteran team feels like Toledo is the right opportunity to put themselves inside the top-five and continue their top-10 streak heading into the summer stretch.

“I’m looking forward to going back to Toledo this weekend,” said Graf Jr. who sits fourth in the championship standings after five races. “We came and tested at Toledo Speedway and by the end of the day, I was pretty happy with what we had.

“Toledo is a relatively flat race track with little banking. That fits into my style and I think I showcased that with my third-place finish last May. This weekend, we’re looking not only at the opportunity to put myself back on the podium – but a chance to get back in Victory Lane.

“That would be a huge boost for our team.”

Knowing that Toledo Speedway usually is a race that formats itself into long green flag runs, Graf said it’s important for him to work with Bryant to make sure their No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion is adjusted correctly as the race goes on.

“Believe it or not, Toledo can be a pretty weather sensitive race track,” explained Graf. “We have to be prepared for that and I think we will be. With the new procedure this weekend of not losing any spots on pit road under caution, we can focus solely on our on-track product and make sure we’re just as good when the checkered flag nears as we are on when the green flag flies.”

For the sixth straight race, EAT SLEEP RACE, a racing lifestyle apparel company headquartered in New Jersey returns as the primary sponsor of Graf Jr.’s No. 77 Ford Fusion for the 200-lap race.

Since 2001, EAT SLEEP RACE has offered a full product line including accessories and apparel for men’s and ladies.  As one of the pioneers of motorsports apparel, the brand has deep roots in the racing industry and was created to offer fresh designs for all racing enthusiasts.

“I’m really proud of how we’ve been able to get the EAT SLEEP RACE name out there in a short amount of time,” added Graf. “I’m really happy to be representing them as their brand really fits my lifestyle.

“We’ve done a lot when it comes to activation at the race track and on social media and it helped the bigger picture. Our plastic bag awareness campaign from Daytona was a monstrous success and we’ll look to do things like that throughout the season.”

Bryant says Toledo Speedway historically has been a good track for him from a crew chief role and is eager to work with Graf and put themselves back in Victory Lane for the first time in 2019.

“Joe has worked tremendously hard over the last few weeks both in and out of the car,” offered Bryant. “At Nashville we came close to a top-five because Joe drove his guts out.

“After the test last week at Toledo, I feel like we’re in the ballpark of where we need to be with the other championship-caliber teams in ARCA and Joe can compete for a win on Sunday. It’s going to be a competitive race but I expect Joe to be in the thick of the battle and coming back to Charlotte satisfied with our Toledo weekend.”

To bring exclusivity to his No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion, Graf will carry the Fast Kids Club on-board camera for his second start at Toledo Speedway. The Fast Kids Club is the designated youth division of EAT SLEEP RACE.

For more on Joe Graf Jr, please like him on Facebook (Joe Graf Jr.) and follow him on Twitter (@JoeGrafJr) and visit his brand new website at JoeGrafJr.com.

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Federated Car Care (200 laps | 100 miles) is the sixth of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Sat., May 18 with an hour and a half session from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 4:00 p.m. The race in the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag the following day, Sun., May 19 beginning at 2:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (ET).

About EAT SLEEP RACE:

EAT SLEEP RACE (eatsleeprace.com) is a racing lifestyle apparel company based out of New Jersey.  Since 2001 the brand has offered a full product line including accessories and apparel for men’s and ladies.  As one of the pioneers of motorsports apparel, the brand has deep roots in the racing industry and was created to offer fresh designs for all racing enthusiasts.

The company has expanded to now offer a dedicated children’s product line of apparel and accessories branded as the Fast Kids Club with it’s hot selling ABC book for future race car drivers.

Corey Heim eyes first career ARCA win at Toledo Speedway

TOLEDO, Ohio – For ARCA Menards Series rookie Corey Heim (@coreyheim3) the thought of winning races is a daily occurrence.

His next opportunity, in reality, steers him to Toledo Speedway site of Sunday afternoon’s Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Federated Car Care.

And while the Marietta, Ga. native has never been to the half-mile speedway before his private test at the iconic Northern Ohio short track last Friday, you never would know based on Heim’s finesse and lap times in preparation for his fourth career start.

Testing alongside his Chad Bryant Racing (CBR) teammate Joe Graf Jr., Heim, 16, and crew chief Paul Andrews spent the majority of the day focused on race runs. All said and done, the teenage sensation is confident his No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion will be a contender in the sixth ARCA race of 2019.

“We threw a couple different things at the car all day and each adjustment seemed to make it better,” said Heim on the ARCA test. “It was a long, but successful day. I think we need a little bit more qualifying speed, but other than that we are in great shape.”

Heim heads to Toledo hoping to recover from an unfortunate circumstance at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville earlier this month when his seatbelts became unlatched forcing Heim to pit under green and lose valuable laps to the leader. He returned to the race, seven laps down and finished 11th.

“Nashville was one of those freaky things,” added Heim. “It’s a bummer – because we had a decent day going. Not a good day, but we thought we were going to walk away with a top-10. Nothing we can do about what happened, we aren’t focused on the past, but instead concentrated on the future.”

Part of his future which includes running a majority of the ARCA schedule behind the wheel of the No. 22 Ford, Heim says he knows he needs a stellar run at Toledo to give him some momentum towards his next race at Madison International Speedway, nearly a month from now.

“Toledo was a fun experience,” added Heim. “The track has a ton of grip and has nearly no banking which suits my driving style well. I’m really happy with our No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford as well.

“Our long-run speed is definitely a strong suit and I’m confident we have one of the cars to beat for this Sunday’s race.”

Paul Andrews, former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship crew chief concurs with his young driver.

“Toledo will be our fourth race together and we keep getting better,” said Andrews. “I thought we had better speed at Nashville than Pensacola or Salem. We tested this past Friday and I feel like we keep making significant gains on what Corey needs to win.

“Chad Bryant Racing loves going to Toledo. It’s a fast-flat half-mile track, that’s also exceptionally hard to pass. That seems to fit into Corey’s wheelhouse and (hopefully) we can get that first win. It will be a great day though when it happens Toledo or another race this season. I think we’re that close to winning.”

For more on Corey Heim, please like him on Facebook (Corey Heim Racing) and follow him on Instagram (@corey.heim) and Twitter (@coreyheim3).

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

The Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 presented by Federated Car Care (200 laps | 100 miles) is the sixth of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Sat., May 18 with an hour and a half session from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 4:00 p.m. The race in the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag the following day, Sun., May 19 beginning at 2:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (ET).

Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | General Tire Music City 200 Race Recap

Team: No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion
Driver: Joe Graf Jr.
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @JoeGrafJr
Start: 10th
Finish: Sixth; Running (200 | 200 laps completed)
Unofficial Driver Points Position: Fourth

Joe Graf Jr. Quote: “It was a solid race for the Chad Bryant Racing team. We didn’t start off too good, but we got better throughout the race and ended up with a decent finish.

“We still have some work to do but we’re making steps in the right direction and that’s encouraging. We’ll keep working hard at the upcoming Charlotte ARCA test and Toledo is coming next weekend and we’ll see if we can’t ourselves and EAT SLEEP RACE a win.”

Next Up: Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Toledo Speedway on Sun., May 19, 2019.

For more on Joe Graf Jr, please like him on Facebook (Joe Graf Jr.) and follow him on Twitter (@JoeGrafJr) and visit his brand new website at JoeGrafJr.com.

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

About EAT SLEEP RACE:

EAT SLEEP RACE (eatsleeprace.com) is a racing lifestyle apparel company based out of New Jersey.  Since 2001 the brand has offered a full product line including accessories and apparel for men’s and ladies.  As one of the pioneers of motorsports apparel, the brand has deep roots in the racing industry and was created to offer fresh designs for all racing enthusiasts.

The company has expanded to now offer a dedicated children’s product line of apparel and accessories branded as the Fast Kids Club with it’s hot selling ABC book for future race car drivers.

Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville | General Tire Music City 200 Race Recap

Team: No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion
Driver: Corey Heim
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @CoreyHeim3
Start: Seventh
Finish: 11th; Running (193 | 200 laps completed)
Driver Points Position: 10th

Corey Heim Quote: “We had a pretty good run going at Nashville this past weekend. Paul (Andrews, crew chief) had a great strategy and decided to take two tires later than most people allowing us to come up through the field to the top-five near the middle portion of the race.

“After we put four tires on the car, we got very tight and we were stuck in seventh for a long time. With around 30 laps to go, we had a safety belt break and I had to pull off unfortunately.

“I’m looking forward to getting this monkey off our back at Toledo. I know the team has run very well there in recent years.”

Next Up: Sioux Chief PowerPEX 200 at Toledo Speedway on Sun., May 19, 2019.

For more on Corey Heim, please like him on Facebook (Corey Heim Racing) and follow him on Instagram (@corey.heim) and Twitter (@coreyheim3).

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

Joe Graf Jr. has big plans for Nashville return

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One year ago, Joe Graf Jr. (@JoeGrafJr.) headed to Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville nursing a broken left foot which left the Chad Bryant Racing driver scooting around the half-mile short track utilizing a scooter.

Inside the race car, Graf despite the injury left nothing on the table.

While a productive race didn’t result in the best finish, Graf returns to the historic short track this weekend for Saturday night’s General Tire Music City 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions hoping for vindication.

“I really enjoyed the Music City 200 last year,” said Graf who heads to Nashville seeking his third straight top-10 finish. “I learned a lot throughout the race, and we were in contention to battle for the win at the end of the race but unfortunately lost a transmission with under 20 laps to go.

“We had a very productive test on Monday, and I feel very confident going into Saturday’s race.”

Graf’s upbeat demeanor for the fifth race of the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season is contributed to a recent successful test with his No. 77 Chad Bryant Racing team alongside teammate Corey Heim which saw Graf’s turn fast laps negotiating both short and long runs.

Prepared to earn his second career ARCA victory this weekend, Graf feels his experience last year at Nashville will play into his hands not to mention the recent momentum of two top-10 finishes at Salem Speedway and last Friday’s superspeedway rumble at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

“We’re making some noise – we just need to shake off the bad luck we’ve been having,” added Graf. “We overheated at Daytona because of a plastic bag, got bitten on pit road at Salem and ran over some debris late in the race at Talladega and both of those scenarios I feel like cost us an opportunity for top-five finishes.

“We were able to recover though and made the best out of the situations. Because of the hard work of Chad (Bryant) and the guys – I feel prepared to go to Nashville and execute and do it well.”

For the fifth straight race, EAT SLEEP RACE, a racing lifestyle apparel company headquartered in New Jersey returns as the primary sponsor of Graf Jr.’s No. 77 Ford Fusion for the 200-lap race.

Since 2001, EAT SLEEP RACE has offered a full product line including accessories and apparel for men’s and ladies. As one of the pioneers of motorsports apparel, the brand has deep roots in the racing industry and was created to offer fresh designs for all racing enthusiasts.

“I’m really proud of how we’ve been able to get the EAT SLEEP RACE name out there in a short amount of time,” added Graf. “I’m really happy to be representing them as their brand really fits my lifestyle.

“We’ve done a lot when it comes to activation at the race track and on social media and it helped the bigger picture. Our plastic bag awareness campaign from Daytona was a monstrous success and we’ll look to do things like that throughout the season.”

Talladega wasn’t big just because of EAT SLEEP RACE last week. On Friday, Richard Childress Racing announced that 20-year-old Graf would compete in a limited NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule this year – while also serving as the team’s marketing and communications intern through a partnership with Graf’s college, New York University.

“This is an amazing opportunity that wouldn’t be possible without NYU and RCR working together,” sounded Graf. “For my internship to be with one of the most recognizable teams in NASCAR is unbelievable. To then think that I will also have the opportunity to drive the No. 21 car is really exciting.”

“I am pumped for the opportunity to learn all facets of this business,” continued Graf Jr. “From inside the cockpit to the corporate office. The quality of the RCR organization speaks for itself, especially celebrating their 50th anniversary this season. I am eager to learn, contribute and compete.”

Graf’s crew chief and car owner Chad Bryant says Nashville is another opportunity for his young driver to find his niche and continue to build more confidence ahead of the summer stretch.

“Joe’s done a tremendous job the last few weeks,” added Bryant. “We’ve had much better race cars than the box score shows – but Joe hasn’t gotten discouraged and instead continued to drive his guts out in the race car.

“He showed a lot of speed at Nashville last year and during our test – so hopefully, we can go back there this weekend and capitalize on that with a top-five finish or a win on Saturday night.”
For more on Joe Graf Jr, please like him on Facebook (Joe Graf Jr.) and follow him on Twitter (@JoeGrafJr) and visit his brand new website at JoeGrafJr.com.

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

The General Tire Music City 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions (200 laps | 119.2 miles) is the fifth of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Sat., May 4 with an hour and a half session from 1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 4:15 p.m. The race in the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag later that night at 8:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (CT).

Corey Heim aims for third straight-top five with Chad Bryant Racing at Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Soaking in the breathtaking 2.66-mile Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway as a spectator for Chad Bryant Racing last week, ARCA Menards Series rookie Corey Heim is ready to climb back aboard his No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion for a little short track action at the Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on Saturday night, May 4.

To help prepare Heim, 16, for his third career ARCA start, the Chad Bryant Racing team recently tested at the half-mile short track where Heim quickly caught up to speed and his race car responded to the aggressive changes throughout the session.

“I’m looking forward to Nashville,” offered Heim. “Paul (Andrews) and the Chad Bryant Racing team brought me a good Ford Fusion and we worked diligently on the handling of the car – especially as the track began to transition for day to night. I think we’ll be a lot faster when we unload for practice on Saturday.

“Nashville seems like it’s going to be a rhythm place when it comes to pace and I think tires conservation is going to be important, so hopefully we can make the right adjustments and we can inch ourselves closer to Victory Lane Saturday night.”

Aiming for his third top-five finish Saturday night, Heim, an accomplished short track racer has already earned the respect of his competition – but now the Marietta, Ga. native is ready to win and feels it’s only a matter of time before it happens.

“It’s been a good season so far,” added Heim. “Paul (Andrews), Chad (Bryant, owner) and my teammate Joe (Graf Jr.) have been embracing and eager to help in any way. I’ve been able to be competitive because of a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck.

“We’re going to Nashville with the same plan that we had at Five Flags and Salem and hope it pays off on Saturday night. I’d really like to get my hands on that guitar.”

Bryant says he’s been exceptionally satisfied with the effort of Heim and look forward to another weekend of stellar results.

“Everyone is putting a lot of effort into both teams at Chad Bryant Racing,” he said. “Corey has done a great job in his first two races this year and the results have shown that. He’s never been to Nashville before, but I think his prior experience there will be beneficial to him on Saturday night.

“I’m confident we’re going to the race track with two opportunities to win and hope we can bring home the checkered flag.”

Despite missing two ARCA Menards Series races this season, Heim occupies 11th in the championship standings with 16 races remaining in 2019.

Chad Bryant Racing’s No. 22 sits third in the ARCA Menards owner standings following Ty Majeski’s fourth-place finish in the General Tire 200 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Apr. 26.

In addition to Speedway Children’s Charities, Carbon Racing Solutions will serve as an associate marketing partner for Heim’s third career ARCA start.

For more on Corey Heim, please like him on Facebook (Corey Heim Racing) and follow him on Instagram (@corey.heim) and Twitter (@coreyheim3).

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

The General Tire Music City 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions (200 laps | 119.2 miles) is the fifth of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Menards Series schedule. Practice begins Sat., May 4 with an hour and a half session from 1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 4:15 p.m. The race in the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag later that night at 8:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV, while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities. All times are local (CT).

Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway | General Tire 200 Race Recap

Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway | General Tire 200 Race Recap
Team: No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion
Driver: Joe Graf Jr.
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @JoeGrafJr
Start: Ninth
Finish: 10th; Running (76 | 76 laps completed)
Unofficial Driver Points Position: Fourth

Joe Graf Jr. Quote: “Man, I wish the rain would have held off. We had a pretty good No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion early in the race – but we struggled as the run progressed in Turns 3 and 4 getting the car to grip towards the top.

“Chad (Bryant, crew chief) made an adjustment there after we came in for tires and I would have liked to see how it would have played out under green. We got trapped a lap down during the long green flag run – but I think we had the speed to get back on the lead lap and hustle back to the front.

“Our performance from start to finish though is a step in the right direction moving forward and we’ll take our first top-10 finish of the season and carry on to Talladega in a few weeks.

“I can’t thank EAT SLEEP RACE and all of the Chad Bryant Racing team for their continued support, it means a lot.”

Next Up: General Tire 200 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway on Fri., Apr. 26, 2019.

For more on Joe Graf Jr, please like him on Facebook (Joe Graf Jr.) and follow him on Twitter (@JoeGrafJr) and visit his brand new website at JoeGrafJr.com.

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

About EAT SLEEP RACE:

EAT SLEEP RACE (eatsleeprace.com) is a racing lifestyle apparel company based out of New Jersey.  Since 2001 the brand has offered a full product line including accessories and apparel for men’s and ladies.  As one of the pioneers of motorsports apparel, the brand has deep roots in the racing industry and was created to offer fresh designs for all racing enthusiasts.

The company has expanded to now offer a dedicated children’s product line of apparel and accessories branded as the Fast Kids Club with it’s hot selling ABC book for future race car drivers.

CONTACT: [email protected]

Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway | General Tire 200 Race Recap

Team: No. 22 Ford Performance Ford Fusion
Driver: Ty Majeski
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @tymajeski
Start: Second
Finish: Fourth; Running (76 | 76 laps completed)

Ty Majeski Quote: “It was a pretty uneventful day but that was a good thing for us at Talladega. I can’t thank my crew chief Paul (Andrews) for bringing a fast race car and to Chad (Bryant) for the opportunity.

“We qualified near the front and even though we got shuffled back a little bit, our No. 22 Ford Performance Ford Fusion was strong enough were I was able to make the moves to get back inside the top-five.

“We didn’t have the help we needed to make a run at the win, but a fourth-place finish is something we can build on for sure. Can’t wait to get to Charlotte in a few weeks with these guys.”

Next Up: General Tire Music City 200 presented by Inspectra Thermal Solutions at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville on Sat., May. 4, 2019.

For more on Ty Majeski, please like him on Facebook (Ty Majeski Racing) and follow him on Instagram (@tymajeski_) and Twitter (@TyMajeski).

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

CONTACT: [email protected]

Joe Graf Jr. returns to Talladega on a strict agenda

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Joe Graf Jr. (@JoeGrafJr) returns to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway for Friday afternoon’s General Tire 200 trenched in the headlines of the ARCA Menards Series annual return to the 2.66-mile superspeedway.

Last year, Graf and Zane Smith were involved in the closest finish in the 67 years of ARCA competition history which left the world wondering which driver won.

The margin was so narrow it was a statistical dead heat, the margin of victory on the computerized scoring monitors showing 0.000 seconds. Only a video replay and the photo finish camera were able to determine Graf finished second by a matter of millimeters.

Having to settle for second in a gut-wrenching finish left Graf having to wait 12 months before an opportunity at redemption aboard his No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion.

“I’m excited to get back to Talladega this weekend,” said Graf. “Obviously, everyone knows how close the finish was and I still think I won, but we can’t dwell on last year, there’s a race to be won on Friday afternoon and I want to win it.”

A sophomore on the ARCA Menard Series tour and on the heels of his first top-10 finish of 2019 two weeks ago at Salem (Ind.) Speedway, Graf heads into the final restrictor plate race of the season fourth in the championship standings and an opportunity to make some gains on the championship lead in his third superspeedway start.

“Restrictor plate racing is very methodical,” added Graf. “It’s not exhausting physically – but mentally it can wear you out. A lot happens in a hurry and you have to be on your game every lap for about two hours.

“Luckily, I have a good spotter and a good crew chief, and I think we can go to Talladega this weekend and start showing everyone that we have the potential to be championship material.”

For the fourth straight race, EAT SLEEP RACE, a racing lifestyle apparel company headquartered in New Jersey returns as the primary sponsor of Graf Jr.’s No. 77 Ford Fusion for the 76-lap race.

Since 2001, EAT SLEEP RACE has offered a full product line including accessories and apparel for men’s and ladies. As one of the pioneers of motorsports apparel, the brand has deep roots in the racing industry and was created to offer fresh designs for all racing enthusiasts.

Talladega will showcase the end of EAT SLEEP RACE’s two-month campaign to promote plastic bag awareness after a grocery plastic bag landed on the front of Graf’s race car in the season-opening race at Daytona in February.

The plastic bag ended up overheating the race car forcing an unscheduled pit stop for the team and dashed any opportunity to win the race. Since then, ESR has invested a $1,000 cash into the campaign hoping to educate the public. Entries can still be received at EATSLEEPRACE.com/win until 11:59 p.m. Thursday, April 25.

“EAT SLEEP RACE has really put a lot of effort into our wheelhouse and I’m excited to have them onboard for their Talladega debut,” offered Graf Jr. “We are working with them on several different projects and they have been instrumental in making our social media campaign surrounding Daytona a success.

“We’re doing a lot behind the scenes and already launched a Joe Graf Jr – Talladega shirt that is available online. A lot of good things going on for me both on and off the track.”

Graf’s crew chief and car owner Chad Bryant says Talladega is the perfect opportunity for the No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE team to get redemption and gain more momentum ahead of the summer stretch.

“Talladega was heartbreaking last year but has definitely given us something to shoot for this year,” added Bryant. “If we can shake the mechanical gremlins and avoid any debris – particularly plastic bags – we should be in good shape this week.

“Joe knows what he needs to do when it comes to restrictor plate racing. From a team aspect, we just need to do our job on pit road and hope that when push comes to shove we’re in a position to be exactly where we were last year but just be on the other side of the outcome.

“A win would benefit us all.”

To bring exclusivity to his No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion, Graf will carry the Fast Kids Club on-board camera for his second start at Talladega Superspeedway. The Fast Kids Club is the designated youth division of EAT SLEEP RACE.
For more on Joe Graf Jr, please like him on Facebook (Joe Graf Jr.) and follow him on Twitter (@JoeGrafJr) and visit his brand new website at JoeGrafJr.com.

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.

The General Tire 200 (76 laps | 202 miles) is the fourth of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Fri., Apr. 26 with an hour and twenty-five-minute session planned from 8:30 a.m. – 9:55 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 2:35 p.m. The race in the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag later in the day shortly after 5:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the day’s festivities. All times are local (Central).

Joe Graf Jr. relives last year’s closest finish in ARCA Menards Series history at Talladega Superspeedway

MOORESVILLE, N.C. — In less than two weeks, Joe Graf Jr. will be headed back to Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, a track that was the background for the closest finish in the 67-year history of the ARCA Menards Series.

The margin was so narrow it was a statistical dead heat, the margin of victory on the computerized scoring monitors showing 0.000 seconds. Only a video replay and the photo finish camera were able to determine Graf finished second by a matter of millimeters.

Almost a year later, Graf Jr. relives the heart pounding drama of Talladega debut and those exhilarating final laps.

Q: It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the most thrilling finish in ARCA history. Have you thought about the race in the last twelve months?

A: Not really to be honest. I moved past it and went on to the next race. Over the last twelve months lots of things have changed.. I am competing for a championship and at the time last year I had no idea I was going to run the rest of the 2018 season. The finish at Talladega opened opportunities for me and I’m grateful.

Q: Lets go back to the beginning. You didn’t even know that you were running at Talladega until three days before the race. What was the first thing you thought when you drove to the tunnel and saw the speedway?

A: It was the first time I was ever there. All I could think was how big and massive the place was. It was kind of surreal. Being one of my favorite tracks growing up added to the moment.

Q: From the moment you arrived until the first time you buckled into your Chad Bryant Racing race car what was going through your mind?

A: I was mentally preparing. Visualizing being on the track, going through all of the details I needed to comprehend. I spoke with my crew chief and my spotter to make sure I was ready to hit the track.

Q: The moment has arrived. You back out of your pit garage and start towards pit road. What’s going through your mind?

A: I was just thinking of what I needed to do when I get out there. For me, the adrenaline doesn’t begin until the race starts but there was definitely the WOW factor. I was thinking at the time I am a short track driver getting ready to race on a track that large.

Q: The official gives you the go ahead on pit road. You start to head out onto the 2.66-mile superspeedway. What does a driver do…go flat out, pace themselves?

A: Well you go through the gears and get up to speed and listen to your spotter about where to run and we try different things to make the car faster. It was exhilarating but once I was full speed my racing instincts took over.

Q: Take us through a lap at Talladega from a driver’s perspective.

A: Ok, you cross the start finish line with your foot to the floor. A Talladega if you are by yourself you can actually run anywhere you want. It really doesn’t get that interesting until you are in the draft. You actually are preparing for turn one right after the start finish line.

What makes Talladega and a track like Daytona so different is this when you race a short track the g-forces move you to the right in the seat at Talladega with the banking it forces you down in the seat and that is something you really have to get used to. It’s the same in every turn.

Q: 80 laps is a long way on a 2.66-mil oval. What was your plan for the race?

A: We were just going to keep our nose clean and help me learn the draft since I had never felt it before. Once I was comfortable, we just hung in the back to miss the big wreck, which we fortunately did. With around five laps to go Riley Herbst and I were running something like 17 and 18th and we just took off to the front.

Q: It’s race time…you are on the pace lap with cars in front of you, cars behind you all preparing for 80 intense laps. Take us through the start.

A: Most important you have to make sure you get through the gears perfectly and wind it up to 7200 RPMs through every gear or you will just be slow and get run over. My adrenaline was pumping, and I just had to focus on staying clean as we got up to speed.

You’ve got to do your job and get up front and run good for your team and marketing partners. You can’t let your feelings distract you, if you do it can create a mistake.

Q: You ran a smart race. Your spotter Brian Cranmer was on top of the grandstand. What role does the spotter play at such a huge facility?

A: Definitely different from a smaller track. His job was to communicate with other spotters and teams to find drafting partners. He found Riley Herbst and that was a key to getting me to the front.

Q: People talk about the draft. Can you really feel that sensation?

A: It feels like you pick up speed, like you have more motor. Its nothing crazy unless you are in a big pack and the air moves you around and that gets a little sketchy. During the race Natalie Decker’s car shut off and she was six inches off my bumper, that was pretty intense. When cars wreck in front of you everything is happening at 200 miles per hour and you are definitely on the edge.

Q: So, there are five laps to go and you are running around 18th. You strike a deal with the 18 car of Riley Herbst. Then what?

A: It was time to go. We just hooked up and our cars worked together. It was really cool passing all those cars on the way to the front.

Q: Let’s jump ahead…it’s the second green-white flag and you are on the front row on the outside. You and Zane Smith are racing like there is no tomorrow and on top of the that you might run out of fuel, what are you thinking?

A: This is a big deal, a really huge opportunity. I was hoping I didn’t run out of fuel and going into turn three I doored him pretty good and thought we were going to wreck. But we weren’t done.

Q: Turn four: You and Zane (Smith) bump again. Are you running on adrenaline or is your mind crystal clear as to what you need to do?

A: A little bit of both. I was doing everything I could do to win. I was trying to get back out in front of him. I was on the outside…my heart was pumping pretty good.

Q: You head off Turn four nearly ¾ of a mile to the checkered flag, describe that moment.

A: I knew I was ahead coming off of turn four and it felt like an eternity to just make it to the tri-oval and the start finish line was even farther away.

Q: A few hundred feet from the start finish line you and Zane (Smith) are playing race car pinball with each other… Take us through the last few hundred feet.

A: I was just fighting. I was done thinking about fuel and it was all about what can I do to win.

Q: What was the first thing you did or said when you crossed the start finish line?

A: I yelled hell yeah…To this day I totally believe that I won.

Q: Brian (Crammer) came on the radio and said Zane (Smith) had won…what were your emotions?

A: Well, actually they said he won, then that he didn’t win and then that he did. I was pretty disheartened.

Q: One year later what are your thoughts on the event and how much are you looking to get back to Talladega?

A: Not many people had heard of Joe Graf Jr. prior to that race. My Dad was at an event in Charlotte and he talked to Martin Truex Jr. about the race and Martin said oh yeah, your son ran a great race, so it’s kind of made people aware of who I was.

It will be so cool to be back there…I kind of feel that Talladega owes me one. Guess we’ll have to see what happens.

For more on Joe Graf Jr, please like him on Facebook (Joe Graf Jr.) and follow him on Twitter (@JoeGrafJr) and visit his brand new website at JoeGrafJr.com.

For more on Chad Bryant Racing, please like them on Facebook (Chad Bryant Racing) and follow them on Twitter (@ChadBryantRace). Also, visit the new ChadBryantRacing.com.