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Pocono (Pa.) Raceway | FORTS USA 150 Race Recap

Team: No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion
Driver: Corey Heim
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @CoreyHeim3
Start: Fourth
Finish: Fourth; Running (60 | 60 laps completed)
Unofficial Driver Points Position: 13th

Corey Heim Quote: “My Chad Bryant Racing team gave me a great car on Friday at Pocono.

“We battled a little bit of handling issues in the first half of the race, but I felt like we dialed it in after the pit stop. We never got another opportunity to show what we had due to the race going caution free to the checkered flag.

“This race was a big learning experience for me, and I think it’s going to help me for the next time I race at Pocono or even a mile and a half track.”

Next Up: Allen Crowe 100 at Illinois State Fairgrounds on Sun., Aug. 18 live on MAVTV at 1:30 p.m. (Central).

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.

Pocono (Pa.) Raceway | FORTS USA 150 Race Recap

Team: No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion
Driver: Joe Graf Jr.
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @JoeGrafJr
Start: 10th
Finish: 10th; Running; (58 | 60 laps completed)
Unofficial Driver Points Position: Fifth

Joe Graf Jr. Quote: “It was an okay race for us. We had a lot of EAT SLEEP RACE and myFace guests in attendance and unfortunately we couldn’t get them the finish we were hoping for.

“No matter what we did, we just couldn’t get the balance right on our No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Chevrolet. We even tried to make a gamble for track position and came up a little short on fuel and put us back a couple spots where we would have probably finished.

“We’ll take this finish and move onto the next race.”

Next Up: Allen Crowe 100 at Illinois State Fairgrounds on Sun., Aug. 18 live on MAVTV at 1:30 p.m. (Central).

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

Corey Heim Looks to Build General Tire Superspeedway Challenge Lead for Chad Bryant Racing at Pocono

Looming large on the ARCA Menards Series schedule is Friday afternoon’s FORTS USA 150 at Pocono Raceway, the penultimate race in the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge. Barring a dramatic turn of events, the battle for the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge crown will be continue to be contested between Chad Bryant’s No. 22 Ford and Billy Venturini’s No. 20 Toyota. Bryant leads the standings with 2375 points, 95 points ahead of Venturini at 2280 points. A pair of short track specialists will duke it out at 2.5-mile triangle this week for those two teams. Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) will run for Chad Bryant Racing while four-time 2019 winner Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) will drive for Venturini Motorsports. Heim and Smith both made their superspeedway debuts at Gateway in June, though that track is exactly half the length of Pocono at 1.25 miles in length. Pocono will represent the largest track that either teenage driver has ever raced at in a stock car.

So how did the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge make its way to this point?

The General Tire Superspeedway Challenge began alongside the 2019 ARCA Menards Series season in Daytona in February, with Harrison Burton (No. 20 DEX Imaging Toyota) taking the win for Billy Venturini and the No. 20 team. The first four superspeedway races would be critical for car owners vying to take home the superspeedway title, as those four races were sponsored by General Tire and thus awarded double points. A poor finish in any of those races would be a significant setback, especially at Daytona where the car count is usually the highest it will be all year. Michael Self (No. 25 Sinclair Lubricants Toyota) found himself on the wrong end of an errant bump-draft going down the backstretch on just the third lap and went flying through the air in a dramatic accident. Self’s No. 25 team spent nearly half of the race repairing the significant damage to his Toyota and he finished the race in 31st, mired in a 320-point hole that Self and team owner Cathy Venturini have been unable to dig out of in the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge. Following a pair of penalties assessed after post-race inspection, the Billy Venturini-owned No. 20 car left Florida with a 50-point lead in the standings.

Two long months passed before the next event on the GTSC schedule, the General Tire 200 at Talladega. With GT’s race sponsorship, this would be another double-points event. With nine fewer cars starting than at Daytona, the risk of losing significant ground in the standings due to a bad finish was minimized – but not impossible. Christian Eckes (No. 15 JBL Audio Toyota), whose car owner Bill Venturini entered Talladega in second place in the standings, found that out the hard way. Just past halfway, Eckes was caught up in an accident and finished last, only one week after missing the race at Salem Speedway with an illness. Venturini’s No. 15 team dropped from second to 11th in the GTSC standings. Todd Gilliland (No. 4 Frontline Enterprises Toyota) won at Talladega and propelled car owner Bo LeMastus to second in the standings. Billy Venturini and the No. 20 team left with a 90-point lead over LeMastus after Brandon Lynn (No. 20 Carolina Excavation Toyota) finished third at Talladega.

The General Tire 150 at Charlotte would kick off the Memorial Day weekend festivities at Charlotte Motor Speedway on May 23. The No. 4 car owned by LeMastus was not on the entry list, giving Billy Venturini a chance to pull away in the standings with Harrison Burton back behind the wheel of the No. 20 machine. Instead, a new team entered the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge battle at the top. Ty Majeski (No. 22 Crestliner Boats Ford), who had only announced his intention to run a partial ARCA schedule at the end of March, made a late pass for the lead and won his first career ARCA Menards Series race for Chad Bryant’s No. 22 team. The No. 22 car had run solidly in the first two superspeedway races, with Conner Hall (No. 22 Marlow Yachts Ford) finishing 11th at Daytona and Majeski finishing fourth at Talladega. The win came as a surprise, though, but it would be an omen of things to come. Burton finished fourth for Billy Venturini and the No. 20 car left Charlotte with an 80-point lead over Bryant’s surging No. 22 team.

Burton and Majeski were back in the saddle for Venturini and Bryant, respectively, the next week for the series’ first visit to Pocono Raceway. Riley Herbst (No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota) dominated most of the race, but Majeski and crew chief Paul Andrews played their pit strategy correctly and came away with their second consecutive win after a late-race pass for the lead. A pair of flat tires left Burton two laps down in sixth place. Thanks to the double points coming into play for the final time this season, Chad Bryant’s No. 22 car came away from Pocono just 10 points behind Billy Venturini’s No. 20 car in the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge standings. Despite Herbst finishing in second and propelling No. 18 car owner Coy Gibbs to third in the standings, Gibbs was over 200 points behind the two leaders and unlikely to mount a charge with no more double-points races on the schedule. The stage was set for the No. 20 and No. 22 teams to battle it out over the final five months of the 2019 season.

Ty Majeski reprised his role as the driver of Chad Bryant’s No. 22 car at Michigan International Speedway while Billy Venturini tabbed former ARCA winner Myatt Snider (No. 20 Cometic Toyota) to maintain the lead in the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge standings. Snider was never really a factor in his first ARCA start in nearly two years and finished eighth. Majeski attempted to play the pit strategy card again by stretching his last tank of fuel over 50 laps, but he ran out of gas coming out of turn 4 on the final lap of the race. Michael Self, the dominant driver of the day with 86 laps led, passed Majeski’s slowing car and picked up the last-minute victory. Majeski coasted to finish second. While he came up just short in his effort to win three straight races, Majeski did manage to take the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge lead for Bryant by 20 points. Venturini’s No. 20 car fell to second in the standings. Self and car owner Cathy Venturini were assessed a points penalty for post-race inspection violations, which cost the No. 25 team 50 points in the standings.

The General Tire Superspeedway Challenge continued at the newly-christened World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway on June 22. At 1.25 miles in length, Gateway allows younger drivers that normally do not have clearance to race at superspeedways to compete at the track. Young guns such as 15-year old Sam Mayer (No. 21 Chevy Accessories Chevrolet), Ty Gibbs (No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota), Chandler Smith (No. 20 Craftsman Toyota) and Corey Heim (No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford) invaded St. Louis in preparation to take on Gateway. Billy Venturini saw his No. 20 team take another hit when Smith broke an axle and spent half of the race in the garage getting repairs. A late caution set up a shootout with less than ten laps to go. Gibbs slid underneath Mayer in turns 3 and 4 on the final lap to pick up the win for his car owner (and father) Coy Gibbs. Heim came home in fourth place while Chandler Smith was relegated to 16th. In his first superspeedway race, Heim was able to extend Chad Bryant’s lead in the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge standings to 80 points over the Venturini No. 20 team.

The Bounty 150 at Chicagoland Speedway brought a pair of familiar faces back to the No. 20 and No. 22 teams. Harrison Burton and Ty Majeski were set to square off again and were considered two of the favorites to win the race, along with overall series championship leader Michael Self. Majeski had previously picked up his two wins by making his moves late in the race. Instead, Majeski went for a role reversal of sorts and led 72 of the 100 laps, beating second-place Burton to the checkers by over nine seconds. Chad Bryant left the mile-and-a-half Joliet, IL facility with a 95-point lead. It has remained static, as the last month has passed with just two short track races on the ARCA Menards Series schedule heading into this weekend’s FORTS USA 150 at Pocono.

Chandler Smith has proven to be an ace at the short tracks so far in his ARCA career – and that might even be selling him short. If he takes home the win at Pocono while Corey Heim struggles, the General Tire Superspeedway Challenge will truly go down to the wire in the season finale at Kansas Speedway in October.

2019 GENERAL TIRE SUPERSPEEDWAY CHALLENGE LEADERS: 1. No. 22, Chad Bryant, owner, 2375 points; 2. No. 20, Billy Venturini, owner, 2280 points; 3. No. 18, Coy Gibbs, owner, 2115 points; 4. No. 27, Don Fike, owner, 2100 points; 5. No. 15, Bill Venturini, owner, 2050 points

ARCA Menards Series practice at Pocono Raceway starts at 9 am ET with General Tire Pole Qualifying set for 1:35 pm ET and the green flag on the FORTS USA 150 set to fly at 4 pm ET. The race will be televised live flag to flag on FS1. ARCARacing.com will have live timing & scoring, live user chat, and live track updates for registered users at ARCARacing.com. New users can register for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. For ticket information please visit PoconoRaceway.com.

Corey Heim confident ahead of superspeedway debut at Pocono Raceway

LONG POND, Pa: After a successful ARCA Menards Series test at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway in May, Corey Heim will have an opportunity to race at the “Tricky Triangle” in Friday afternoon’s FORTS USA 150.

Heim will drive the No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion for Chad Bryant Racing and looks to bookend the ARCA season at the 2.5-mile triangle with the team’s fourth win of 2019 after teammate Ty Majeski won at Pocono earlier this summer.

While Heim’s laps at Pocono were cut short due to inclement weather two months ago, the laps he did turn at the speedway that feels more like a road course was impressive. With the guidance of Majeski and CBR teammate Joe Graf Jr., the now 17-year-old was able to turn impressive laps inside the top-five.

With now bigger shoes to fill, Heim is ready to contend for his first ARCA Menards Series victory.

“Very excited about my speedway debut in ARCA,” said Heim who finished sixth in the series’ most recent race at Iowa Speedway. “I’m very fortunate that Chad Bryant Racing and my crew chief Paul (Andrews) continues to give me fast race cars and I know sooner or later – it will be time to shine in Victory Lane.”

With roughly five hours to get accustomed to Pocono’s Long Pond facility, Heim said he got up to speed quicker than he thought but realizes there’s still much to be learned at a monstrous race track.

“This is the biggest race track I’ve ever competed on in my racing career, so while that’s exciting, it can also be a little bit intimidating too. Luckily, I have a lot of good people around me that can help.

“It’s important to make sure we get our No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion dialed in during practice, qualify up front and then see what happens in 60 laps. It will be a quick race and I think strategy will be crucial for the winning move.

“Much like it was in the spring.”

From testing at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in January to his impressive ARCA debut in March at Five Flags (Fla.) Speedway to his speedway debut at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway this weekend, Heim continues to dazzle the headlines but there’s still work to be done before his curtain is drawn in late September.

“I’ll be in the No. 22 car regularly until the end of the season, and I’m excited for the remaining schedule. Racing back-to-back in the ARCA car will help me a lot because I can stay sharp every weekend.

“With this stretch of races, I’d really like to win a race at some point. This Chad Bryant Racing team has given me great cars and great opportunities to win races, but the win just hasn’t come yet.

“I’m working harder than ever to change that this weekend at Pocono – but more importantly trying to get these guys an owners’ championship.”

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

“Corey tested with us back in May in a backup car and was faster than Ty (Majeski), so we feel good about going back,” offered Andrews. “Pocono is a 2.5-mile short track with long straightaways. You have to handle good in the corners to get the power down on the straightaway.

“We’ll do what we can to give Corey a competitive car for the race and see if we can’t put this No. 22 Chad Bryant Racing Ford Fusion back in the winners circle to sweep Pocono Raceway this season.”

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 FORTS USA 150 (60 laps | 150 miles) is the 15th of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Fri., July 26 with an hour and 25-minute practice session planned from 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 1:35 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 4:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the day’s festivities. All times are local (Eastern).

Joe Graf Jr. hunts top-five result at Pocono Raceway

LONG POND, Pa. – Racking up his eighth top-10 finish of the ARCA Menards Series season last weekend at Iowa Speedway, sophomore driver Joe Graf Jr. (@JoeGrafJr.) returns to Pocono (Pa.) Raceway eager to hunt his second top-five finish of the year in Friday afternoon’s FORTS USA 150.

Last year, Graf Jr. stormed into the spotlight with six top-five and eight top-10 finishes overall in an aggressive 19-race schedule, and while Graf has tied his season-high top-10 finishes from 2018, the 21-year-old is far from being satisfied and hopes the summer return to “The Tricky Triangle” offers the perfect opportunity to make some noise.

“Hopefully, we can have a good finish on Friday afternoon, we desperately need it,” said Graf Jr. who sits fifth in the championship standings. “We’ve been OK this year – definitely not the performances or finishes we would be ecstatic with, but everyone at Chad Bryant Racing continues to work hard knowing we’re capable of contending for race wins.”

Chad Bryant Racing put itself in the Pocono spotlight last month when it took its second win of the season and while Graf Jr. wasn’t behind the wheel then, he’s hoping to be behind the wheel on July 26 and bring the Mooresville, N.C.-team their fourth win of 2019.

“I’m ready to win, I go to the race track every weekend wanting to win,” added Graf Jr. “Pocono would be a great place to do it. To sweep the season for Chad Bryant Racing and to get my second career ARCA Menards Series win at a place where I’ll have a lot of friends and family cheering me on, that’s a big deal.

“It’s not going to be that easy though – just driving to the front and staying there. It’s a competitive field and there hasn’t been a lot of falloff between those running in the top-10. At the same time, that can be frustrating but it’s also like motivation.

“People want to see us do good, myself included. Chad (Bryant) my crew chief and team owner is determined to put our No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Chevrolet near the front. We just need that balance and a little bit of luck to make it all a reality.

Graf Jr. will make his fourth start at the 2.5-mile triangle. After finishing eighth in June in a Ford Fusion, Bryant is coming armed with a Chevrolet SS – the same car that Graf Jr. earned a season-high fourth-place effort at Michigan International Speedway last month.

Graf Jr. hopes for similar success too.

“It’s a good race car,” Graf Jr. mentioned. “It’s been fixed since Chicagoland and I hope we’re able to showcase that speed we had at Michigan at Pocono this weekend. I like Pocono. It’s a challenging track that drives very different in all three turns.

“Making the most of practice on Friday morning will set the tone for qualifying and the race later in the day. Plain and simple, our goal is a top-five or bust. Just thankful to have the support of everyone and my partner, EAT SLEEP RACE who have a big presence at the track on Friday too.”

For the 15th 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 Chevrolet for the 60-lap race.

“Having EAT SLEEP RACE at the race track this weekend is a huge boost for our race team,” sounded Graf Jr. “They brought a lot of attention to the first race at Pocono – and we’re determined to make a little more noise on Friday afternoon.”

Entering Pocono, Graf Jr. has 33 ARCA Menards Series starts to his credit with one win (Berlin (Mich. Raceway, 2018), seven top-five and 16 top-10 finishes to his credit. After 14 races, he stands fifth in the championship standings with six races remaining.

In addition to his ARCA Menards Series presence, Graf Jr. has made two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts for Richard Childress Racing aboard the No. 21 Chevrolet Camaro. He’ll compete in at least two more at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway and Richmond (Va.) Raceway respectively.

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 FORTS USA 150 (60 laps | 150 miles) is the 15th of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Fri., July 26 with an hour and 25-minute practice session planned from 9:00 a.m. – 10:25 a.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 1:35 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 4:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1). ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the day’s festivities. All times are local (Eastern).

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.