Big picture thinking for Joe Graf Jr. at Charlotte Motor Speedway

CONCORD, N.C. – After a frustrating finish at Toledo Speedway this past weekend, Joe Graf Jr. (@joegrafjr) and his Chad Bryant Racing team are focused on a serious rebound in Thursday night’s General Tire 150 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway.

Losing valuable championship points after being taken out by another competitor at Toledo, Graf fell to fifth in the championship standings and although the championship is still within reach with plenty of races remaining on the schedule, Graf realizes his team has to step up to the challenge and leave Charlotte with a proud finish.

“Have to go to Charlotte and recover, there’s not doubt about it,” said Graf Jr. “Toledo was frustrating, and I was aggravated for a lot of reasons, but I’m a professional race car driver. I’m making some mental notes and moving forward. The guys are prepared to go to Charlotte and have a good run and I’m ready to drive to the front.”

Graf joined his Chad Bryant Racing teammate Ty Majeski at an open-test at the 1.5-mile speedway a couple weeks ago and while the test wasn’t as successful as all had hoped, Graf Jr. knows he’s returning to the team’s hometown track better.

“That’s why tests are so important,” offered Graf Jr. “The test offered an opportunity to see where we were start to finish. We were OK, not great and everyone was determined to go back to the shop and be better. I think we will. We were pretty decent last year even though we didn’t get the finish we felt like we deserved.

“We’re focused and that’s important.”

For the seventh 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 a good run on Thursday night would be the boost the team needs to put them right back on track for the upcoming stretch of races.

“As a team we just need to stay focused and get back in the saddle,” offered Bryant. “Toledo was super disappointing and frustrating but sometimes that’s just a part of the game, even if you end up on the wrong side of the stick.

“Joe knows what he needs to do this week at Charlotte and we’re going to work relentlessly to make sure we’re giving him the car he needs so he can go out there and his job to the best of his ability.”

To bring exclusivity to his No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion, Graf will carry the Fast Kids Club onboard camera for his second start at Charlotte Motor 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 General Tire 150 (100 laps | 150 miles) is the seventh of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., May 23 with a two-hour session planned from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 5:00 p.m. The race in the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag later in the day shortly after 9:00 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 (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.

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.

Nancy Graf: Living life and enjoying her role as a “Racing Mom”

Nancy Montevechi Graf is a warrior.

A lady with style and grace who lives life to its fullest and enjoys every day with her husband Joe Graf Sr., their daughter Andreah and sons Ryan and Joseph as she calls her racing son, Joe Graf Jr.

We sat down with Nancy in honor of Mother’s Day and discussed Joe Graf Jr., her life, his racing, her children and her own heroic path.

Q: Thanks for taking the time to share your role in Joseph’s career. When Joseph was growing up was there a profession that he wanted to pursue in the more typical suburban kind of way?

A: When he was little, he said he wanted to be a doctor…a Dr. Seuss…which we thought was adorable. From a very young age, he knew that he wanted to be a race car driver…and I have always imagined him that way.

Q: How was Joseph as a child?

A: He was always a very adventurous young man testing the limits and wanting to explore all of the possibilities. He was a great kid, a really great kid…but when he wanted to, he could really push your buttons.

Q: You are not your “I grew up at the racetrack” kind of Mom. How difficult a transition was it for you to blend the suburban life with the Mom of an up and coming racer?

A: The transition was easy; my husband Joe was already at the racetrack…so that was not the tough part. The difficult part was balancing my life between all of my kids and what it took to be Mom. I have pictures of Joe Sr. 15 years ago at the track so transitioning just meant another Graf at the racetrack.

Q: At what age do you think that Joseph was starting to lean towards a career as a professional racecar driver?

A: Definitely middle school. Some of his coaches at that time said I believe that we will see Joseph on television someday…and there he is on TV. Some parents try to imagine their child as a major league player or NASCAR driver…I’m not living my life through him; I’m just enjoying the ride.

Q: Let’s talk about you for a moment. You have battled through cancer twice. Please share your story.

A: Thank you for asking. My first bout with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma was December 2011, the 23rd to be exact. It was two days before Christmas. I didn’t tell the kids until after Christmas and what followed was twelve rounds of chemo from January to June and at the conclusion, I was cancer free.

Life went on and I still went to the racetrack and Ryan and Joseph shaved their heads…it was very touching. In January of 2016 I went back for my yearly checkup and they didn’t like my test and unfortunately, it was back, and my treatment was even more intense than the first time.

First, we started with very aggressive chemo, I lost my hair in three weeks, then radiation, then more chemo and finally a stem cell transplant. I was in the hospital the whole month of May after I would sit at the races alone with a mask on my face watching Joseph…my immune system was weakened. Still, my family came first. And I loved watching Joseph on the track.

Q: Thank you for being so candid…what was it like for you watching your son racing?

A: When he was racing bandoleros it was simple. He started at Raceway Park in Elko, MN and when you saw the smile on his face it was easy to watch.

When he switched to Legends Cars everything changed, the car was safe but now he was racing against kids his own age plus adults that had so much more experience in a race car.

There is something to be said about watching your kid race against people much older, it was a learning year for me and Joseph.

Q: Do you have any superstitions or rituals while he is racing?

A: No, can’t say I do. I just tell him be safe, drive smart and have fun.

Q: What are your interests besides your kids and racing, what else is your passion?

A: I volunteer, I have always volunteered. To give back, whether at school, special events, the Mahwah Schools Foundation and I was co-president of the Don Bosco Mother’s Guild. Now, we have a pet shelter I volunteer at and I love to run and I lift weights for my bone density.
Q: Besides Joseph, you have two other children…tell us a little about them.

A: We have always pushed education and each of our children is their own person. Our daughter Andreah, 18, has been driven academically from day one.

She is always reading or writing a book. When she was in 4th grade the first Harry Potter book came out in October and by December she had read the entire series. She told us she would write the next book for them, we politely told her that she couldn’t.

Ryan is 13 and an interesting mix between Joseph and Andreah. He has no desire to get into a racecar. He plays basketball and lacrosse and is a very good athlete. He is so aware of what is happening around him.

As an example, if a new student moves in the area, he is the first one to go up to them to make them feel welcome. He has a gentle soul.

Q: Your husband and son have raced against each other; did you ever get the urge to make it three Graf’s in the same race?

A: No, never, they tease me that I drive fast. There was a point when they needed another driver to earn maximum points in the Legends Cars. Joseph told me I could run slow around the back. I told them I’ll leave the racing to you two.

Q: What you favorite Joseph Graf (Joe Graf Jr.) racing story?

A: It has to be Legends Stock at the Bethel Speedway. Joseph was leading Joe and I had to choose who to watch, I chose to follow Joseph and he and his Dad both won their class, but Joseph finished ahead of his Dad. It was the most exciting race; he beat his father.

Q: What is the funniest moment you can remember?

A: Joseph might not like this but getting his driver’s license was very funny. When he normally sat in my Suburban his seat was so far back that who was ever behind him was squashed. When he got into the driver’s seat the first time to actually drive his seat was so far forward, I told him he couldn’t drive that way.

Yield signs and turn signals were few and far between. In New Jersey, you have an instructor in the car when you are tested, the instructor asked me if he had any hobbies, I said he drove racecars, the instructor looked worried.

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.

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.

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).