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Joe Graf Jr. confident ahead of penultimate ARCA event in Indianapolis

MOORESVILLE, N.C.: Sophomore ARCA Menards Series driver Joe Graf Jr. (@JoeGrafJr) certainly seems to have momentum on his side ahead of next Saturday night’s Herr’s Potato Chips 200 from Lucas Oil Raceway.

Following a top-six finish with Chad Bryant Racing at Salem (Ind.) Speedway on Sept. 14, Graf Jr. turned his attention back towards the NASCAR Xfinity Series for his third and final planned start of the season at Richmond (Va.) Raceway for Richard Childress Racing aboard the No. 21 EAT SLEEP RACE Chevrolet Camaro.

There’s no hiding behind that the transition from ARCA to NASCAR has had some forks in the road for the 21-year-old driver this year, but Graf Jr.’s performance at Richmond showcased how quickly those bumps are behind him.

Despite working with a new crew chief, the Andy Street-led team worked methodically to get a good balance on his race car during a 90-minute practice session.  Following the morning session, the team felt confident about qualifying and the race.

During his two laps of qualifying in the afternoon, Graf Jr. picked up considerable speed between the lap one to lap two. When all said and done, he qualified 16th on the grid, his second-best qualifying effort this season. In July, he qualified sixth at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.

When the green flag waved for the Go Bowling 250, Graf Jr. was super consistent. Remaining on the lead lap and in the clutches of his RCR team and championship contender Tyler Reddick, Graf hovered around the top-15 all night and when the checkered flag was thrown, he was credited with a career-best 14th place effort.

“I’m really proud of my Richard Childress Racing team,” said Graf Jr. “Andy and the guys worked hard on the car all day and we made tremendous gains during the race, especially as the track continued to change from daylight to darkness. I had some contact with John Hunter Nemechek there coming to the checkered flag, but I was racing for the best finish possible for my team and partner EAT SLEEP RACE.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to compete for RCR this season. I learned so much and plan to use what I learned towards my future racing endeavors.”

Carrying the energy of a strong finish, Graf Jr. attended a family wedding over the weekend in Florida and then flew to Indianapolis on Monday where he participated in a private test with his Chad Bryant Racing team at Lucas Oil in preparation for the final short track race of the season on Sat., Oct. 5.

“I felt like the test was productive,” added Graf Jr. “We worked a lot on the handling of the race car and make some good gains throughout the day. I know Chad (Bryant, crew chief and owner) will continue to work on the car between now and next week to get our No. 22 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion ready for competition.

“I know we haven’t had the season that we had hoped for – but we have two more chances to get into Victory Lane and that’s my focus.”

Between race cars, Graf Jr. has equally been busy in the books with his second fall semester at New York University (NYU) underway where he is pursuing a degree in business, media and sports management.

“It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but I’ve been able to manage my time pretty good,” added Graf Jr. “School is super important but so is doing the best job I can behind the wheel for my team and partners. I’m looking forward to going to Lucas Oil next week and having an opportunity to contend for my second ARCA victory.”

Entering Lucas Oil Raceway, Graf Jr. has 37 ARCA Menards Series starts to his credit with one win (Berlin (Mich. Raceway, 2018), seven top-five and 19 top-10 finishes to his credit. After 18 races, he stands fifth in the championship standings with two races remaining.

In addition to his ARCA Menards Series presence, Graf Jr. made three NASCAR Xfinity Series starts for Richard Childress Racing this season earning a career-best 14th place finish at Richmond (Va.) Raceway aboard the No. 21 EAT SLEEP RACE Chevrolet Camaro.

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 Herr’s Potato Chips (200 laps | 137 miles) is the 19th of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Sat. Oct. 5 with an hour and a half practice session planned from 2:00 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for shortly thereafter at 5:00 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 8:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the day’s festivities. All times are local (Eastern).

Salem (Ind.) Speedway | Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic 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: Fifth

Joe Graf Jr. Quote: “We fought hard all race long and I’m proud of the Chad Bryant Racing team. We got ourselves inside the top-five but unfortunately we just couldn’t keep the car balanced enough during the second half to maintain our spot.

“Still, a sixth-place finish is solid for us and some momentum to build towards the last two races of the season. Thanks to everyone, including EAT SLEEP RACE for their ongoing support.”

Next Up: ARCA Indy 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway (LOR) on Sat., Oct. 5, 2019, live on MAVTV at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern).

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.

Salem (Ind.) Speedway | Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic Race Recap

Team: No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion
Driver: Corey Heim
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @CoreyHeim3
Start: Third
Finish: Third (200 | 200 laps completed)
Unofficial Driver Points Position: Ninth

Corey Heim Quote: “Another top-three finish and fought hard for it. “My crew chief Paul Andrews made great adjustments all night long and the car was great. Thanks to everyone on the Chad Bryant Racing team for their efforts this weekend at Salem.

“We’ll try one more time to get into Victory Lane at Lucas Oil Raceway.”

Next Up: ARCA Indy 200 at Lucas Oil Raceway (LOR) on Sat., Oct. 5, 2019, live on MAVTV at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern).

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.

Corey Heim hopes experience is winning ticket to first ARCA win at Salem Speedway

SALEM, Ind: On the strength of his career-best ARCA Menards Series finish on Aug. 31st at the legendary DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds, Chad Bryant Racing (CBR) rookie Corey Heim hopes the transition from dirt to asphalt racing is one of the defining factors that propels him to Victory Lane in Saturday night’s Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic at the historic Salem (Ind.) Speedway.

Finishing third in the series’ most recent race, his eighth consecutive top-10 finish in a row aboard the No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion, Heim is also hoping returning to a race track where he has experience in an ARCA car will be the winning ticket that finally propels him to the winner’s circle in his penultimate ARCA race of the season.

“I feel good about going to Salem Speedway,” said Heim. “The is the first time I get to use prior knowledge of an ARCA track to improve on it, so that should help me out a lot this weekend. I feel like our No. 22 Chad Bryant Racing team is carrying a lot of momentum, we just need to execute on Saturday and win the race.”

To give Heim an opportunity to get ahead of his second ARCA start at the 0.5-mile Southern Indiana short track, the 17-year-old recently tested at Salem where the team led by veteran crew chief Paul Andrews spent the day methodically working on race setups, including both short and long run sprints.

“We tested this past Friday and I think we made some improvements that will make us even better for the race,” added Heim. “I think a win is possible at Salem if we can get our No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion dialed in for the long runs.

“Salem is such an awesome race track and I know we can compete; we just need some good breaks and a good car to end up in Victory Lane.”

Salem Speedway also marks the 12th career ARCA Menards Series race of the year for Heim. The Marietta, Ga. native will have just one more race on deck with CBR at Lucas Oil Raceway Park on Oct. 5.

“It’s been a pretty good season,” sounded Heim. “I’ve put pressure on myself to perform, because I expect to win. I have a lot of people that support me, and I know winning is a way of showing my gratitude for everyone’s hard work.

“I’ve had a lot of fun racing for Chad Bryant Racing this season and have learned so much in such a short amount of time. Paul’s leadership is tremendous and the constant contact from Chad (Bryant, car owner) and the rest of the team has helped make my rookie season one to remember.

“I want to win on Saturday night, I think we’ve proven we’re capable of winning, just need everything to go our way. If for some reason we can’t win on Saturday, I’ve got one more chance at Lucas Oil Raceway next month, where there’s nothing else that matters to me except winning.”

Andrews, a former Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship crew chief is optimistic about the team’s return to Salem’s high banks too.

“We tested last week at Salem because we needed to be a little better than our first race in the spring,” offered Andrews. “Our test was good but still have some work to do. We have a good plan to go back with and Corey has done a great job behind the wheel this season.

“Hopefully, we can have a good night and get our No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion in Victory Lane!”

Despite missing six races this season, Heim enters Saturday night’s ARCA race ninth in the championship standings with three races remaining.

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 Southern Illinois 100 (100 laps | 100 miles) is the 17th of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Sat. Aug. 31 with an hour practice session planned from 2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for shortly thereafter at 5:30 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 8:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV. ARCARacing.com will also stream live timing and scoring throughout the day’s festivities. All times are local (Central).

Joe Graf Jr. set for fourth start at historic Salem Speedway

SALEM, Ind.: With just three races remaining in the ARCA Menards Series season, Joe Graf Jr. (@JoeGrafJr) and his Chad Bryant Racing (CBR) team are focused on going out on a high note continuing with Saturday night’s Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic at the historic Salem (Ind.) Speedway.

21-year-old Graf Jr. will make his fourth start at the legendary Southern Indiana short track but hopes to deliver his first top-five at the treacherous short track under the lights on Sept. 14.

“It feels good getting back to short track racing,” said Graf Jr. who sits fifth in the ARCA championship standings. “I genuinely like Salem Speedway, but it’s a not an easy track to negotiate. It’s a track that takes a lot of concentration and focus.

“I keep getting better and better with every race on Salem, but I’d like to leave there on Saturday night with our best finish of the season.”

Carrying an average finish of 10th this season, Graf Jr. has certainly surpassed his top-10 statistics from his rookie ARCA season, but Graf Jr. says his season won’t be complete if he can’t launch his Chad Bryant Racing team back into Victory Lane.

Last summer, Graf Jr. earned his first career victory on a short track at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway.

“I want to win so bad,” added Graf. “That’s why I get behind the wheel of our race car every week. I need to win for a lot of reasons. I have a great partner in EAT SLEEP RACE who has stuck through our team through the bumps in the road this season and my guys at the Chad Bryant Racing team who have given everything they can to bring me the fastest race car possible.

“It goes without saying that the season hasn’t gone as we hoped. It hasn’t been a horrific season by any means, but I think it’s fair to say that the goals and expectations that we set to accomplish back in February haven’t come to fruition. We still have three races to make the best of it and we will.”

To help Graf contend for his second career ARCA win, his Chad Bryant Racing team recently tested at the 0.533-mile short track where the Mooresville, N.C.-based team spent the day focusing on qualifying and race runs. Satisfied with the test, Graf Jr. is eager to return for race weekend.

“We made some strides during the test,” added Graf. “I know my crew chief Chad (Bryant) is going to make a few tweaks from the test and hopefully we come back even faster than we were at the test.

“For us, I need to make sure I’m saving my tires as much as I can and we keep us with the balance of our race car as the race transition from day to night. It’s going to be a fast-paced race, so we just need to make sure we’re able to pounce when it counts.”

For the 18th 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 for the 200-lap race.

“We just launched some really cool hats with EAT SLEEP RACE, so I encourage everyone to check them out,” sounded Graf Jr. “It’s been great to see EAT SLEEP RACE get all kinds of exposure this season. Fall is here and EAT SLEEP RACE has some cool items. I hope everyone checks them out.”

While juggling racing in ARCA and the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Graf Jr. has also returned to New York where he’ll continue his college education at New York University where he is beginning his sophomore year pursuing a degree in business, media and sports management.

“It’s going to be a busy fall, but I embrace it,” added Graf Jr. “I’m very lucky that I’ve been able to be a student at NYU while also following my dreams of being a professional race car driver.

“My internship at Richard Childress Racing earlier this year allowed me to learn so much that I plan to use that knowledge to the best of my ability and apply it to my everyday college life at NYU.”

Entering Salem, Graf Jr. has 36 ARCA Menards Series starts to his credit with one win (Berlin (Mich. Raceway, 2018), seven top-five and 18 top-10 finishes to his credit. After 17 races, he stands fifth in the championship standings with three races remaining.

In addition to his ARCA Menards Series presence, Graf Jr. has made two NASCAR Xfinity Series starts for Richard Childress Racing. He’ll compete in at least one more race at Richmond (Va.) Raceway respectively on Fri. Sept. 20, 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.

The Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic (200 laps | 111 miles) is the 18th of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Sat. Sep. 14 with an hour practice session planned from 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for shortly thereafter at 4:00 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag shortly after 7:00 p.m. The event will be televised live on MAVTV. 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.

DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds | Southern Illinois 100 Race Recap

Team: No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion
Driver: Joe Graf Jr.
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @JoeGrafJr
Start: 13th
Finish: 11th; Running; (99 | 100 laps completed) 

Unofficial Driver Points Position: Fifth

Joe Graf Jr. Quote: “We were okay. We were making some strides but then got penalized on a restart and had to serve a pass-thru under green (flag conditions).

“We were hoping to get a caution that would keep us on the lead lap or allow us to get the free pass, but it never came and we had to settle for 11th.

“Just three races left at Salem, Indianapolis and Kansas and those races present the opportunity for us to have some good finishes for EAT SLEEP RACE and try to end the year on a high note.”

Next Up: Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic at the Salem (Ind.) Speedway on Sat., Sept. 14, live on MAVTV at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern).

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.

DuQuoin (Ill.) State Fairgrounds | Southern Illinois 100 Race Recap

Team: No. 22 Speedway Children’s Charities Ford Fusion
Driver: Corey Heim
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @CoreyHeim3
Start: 12th
Finish: Third; Running (100 | 100 laps completed)
Unofficial Driver Points Position: Ninth

Corey Heim Quote: “It’s a little bittersweet. We should have finished no lower than third at Springfield but ended up seventh. We had a great night, but I would have liked to have started a little closer to the front.

If we qualified a little better we wouldn’t have had to have worked so hard to get to the front and might have had a shot at running Christian (Eckes) down for the win.

“Can’t thank Paul (Andrews crew chief) and my Chad Bryant Racing team enough for their hard work. We’ll try again in a couple weeks at Salem.”

Next Up: Kentuckiana Ford Dealers ARCA Fall Classic at the Salem (Ind.) Speedway on Sat., Sept. 14, live on MAVTV at 7:00 p.m. (Eastern).

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.