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.

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.

Pocono (Pa.) Raceway | General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 Race Recap

Team: No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion
Driver: Joe Graf Jr.
Follow the Team: @ChadBryantRace; @JoeGrafJr
Start: Sixth
Finish: Eighth; Running (78 | 80 laps completed)
Unofficial Driver Points Position: Fifth

Joe Graf Jr. Quote: “I am very frustrated.  We really struggled with the balance of the car.  We tried something new at the test and it didn’t really bear fruit, so we decided to switch back to setup we had last year.  But with the limited practice time due to rain today, we just couldn’t get the car “dialed in” the way we would have liked.

“This has been a season of challenges. Between freak part failures, rain shortened practice sessions, and even plastic bags, it has been a surreal year so. When I see all the time and effort we are putting into this program I just couldn’t imagine these would be the results.

“These results would discourage the best of us.  This experience doesn’t feel good. But I will tell you what I have learned.  Mental toughness.  When I debrief with Chad (Bryant, team owner and crew chief) and Todd (Myers, car chief) I am impressed with their mental toughness and their process on problem solving.  There is no quitting attitude though.

“We remain focused on fielding the best car possible. We expect that engines won’t fail, transmissions won’t fail, and people pick up their trash.  A little help from Mother Nature would be nice too. The rest is up to us.

“Today’s result sucked.  But I really enjoyed seeing all the Joe Graf Jr and Chad Bryant Racing fans that made it out to Pocono.  It was really amazing.   I also enjoyed hanging around with the Eat Sleep Race models.  That was pretty easy to get used to.  I can’t thank EAT SLEEP RACE enough for coming out, all the family and friends that were here and the fans in the stands. I appreciate their support.

“I’m looking forward to going to Michigan International Speedway next weekend to make my NASCAR Xfinity Series debut with Richard Childress Racing. EAT SLEEP RACE will be on the car. Be sure to tune in on Saturday on FS1.”

ARCA Next Up: VizCom 200 at Michigan International Speedway on Fri., June 7, 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.

Pocono a Home Race for Jersey Boy Joe Graf, Jr.

The ARCA Menards Series comes to Pocono Raceway after a Thursday night 150-miler at Charlotte Motor Speedway, a race most of the teams in the series consider to be their home race. But for Mahwah, New Jersey’s Joe Graf, Jr. (No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford), Friday’s General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 is his home race.

Mahwah is 100 miles from the 2.5-mile layout nestled in the Pocono Mountains. And like anyone who gets to play on a stage in front of their home crowd, including friends and family, Graf wants to put on a good show.

“It’s always gratifying to race so close to home,” said Graf. “Thankfully, we’re able to race at Pocono twice a year and we’re going to have guests at the track both weekends, which makes the race weekend more memorable. Of course, being so close to home also allows me to go home and see friends and family after the race, so that’s a bonus too.”

Graf has two previous starts at the Tricky Triangle. He finished seventh in the June race last season but was a disappointing 26th in the July race. Graf, who earned his first career win at Berlin Raceway last August, will be going for his second career victory and his first of 2019 at Pocono. Despite the track’s technical nature and challenging layout, Graf is looking at the race as a good chance to get his first win of the season.

“I like Pocono because of its uniqueness,” he said. “Each turn is different, so it’s very important to get into a rhythm. I ran OK the first race and then had some bad luck in the July race but I’m a bit more optimistic this time around. We plan to be really aggressive at the test this week and hope to get our car dialed in.

“We’ve had some bad luck the last two races which has really hurt our championship efforts. We’re not giving up by any means, but we’re going to Pocono this weekend knowing we need to get back on track and leave there with a top-five finish, if not a win.”

Graf has a busy summer ahead. The General Tire 200 is the third of seven races in a row, a stretch that will conclude with an off weekend over the Fourth of July weekend. Graf will be racing that weekend, however, as he will be competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Daytona International Speedway for Richard Childress Racing. It will be his third series start, following races at Michigan and Iowa. Graf, a student at New York University, is also an intern with the marketing department at RCR. It’s a unique opportunity that blends driving the racecar with the behind-the-scenes work that makes it all happen.

“The Richard Childress Racing internship has been more than I’ve ever expected,” he said. “I can’t begin to describe how much I’ve learned and embraced both on and off the track. I can’t believe the internship is almost over – but I’m going to continue to be at the shop a lot this summer not only because I’ll be racing with them a little bit – but because I’m learning so much that I want to continue to gain more knowledge. That is never a bad thing.”

While he does have other racing opportunities, Graf remains focused on succeeding in the ARCA Menards Series. He’d like to find the path to victory lane for the second time in his career after notching his first career win at Berlin Raceway last August.

“I want to win again, I’m hungry to win,” Graf explained. “The competition is stiff in the ARCA Menards Series though right now. Chad Bryant Racing is coming off a big win at Charlotte Motor Speedway last week at Charlotte, so we’ve proven that we have the equipment to get the job done, it’s just a lot about circumstances and even luck too.

“Chad (Bryant), my crew chief (and owner) is working relentlessly with the guys in the shop. We’ll get there. Maybe even this week at Pocono. I know I’ll get back to Victory Lane in ARCA soon. It’s not a matter of if, but when.”

The battle for the ARCA Menards Series championship continues in the General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 at Pocono Raceway on Friday, May 31. Practice starts at 9 am ET, followed by General Tire Pole Qualifying at 12 noon. The race is scheduled to start at 5:45 pm ET and will be televised live on FS2 with a same day replay on FS1 at 8 pm ET. ARCA for Me members can access live timing & scoring, live track updates, and live chat for free at ARCARacing.com. New users may join for free with a valid email address at ARCARacing.com/login. For tickets, log on to PoconoRaceway.com or call 800-RACEWAY.

Focused and marching forward for Joe Graf Jr. in Pocono Raceway return

LONG POND, Pa. – After a two-race rough patch, Joe Graf Jr. (@joegrafjr) and his Chad Bryant Racing team invade Pocono (Pa.) Raceway for Friday afternoon’s General Tire #AnywhereIsPossible 200 looking to get their season back on track and thrust Graf Jr. back into the championship fight.

From a season-high sixth-place finish at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville to being involved in a multi-car crash at Toledo and suffering engine woes last week at Charlotte – the setbacks have certainly shaken the team’s momentum – but not their faith.

On Wednesday, Graf Jr. joined his Chad Bryant Racing teammates Corey Heim and Ty Majeski for a several-hour test at the 2.5-mile triangle and while the speed in his No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford Fusion was only 10th quickest overall, 20-year-old Graf Jr. isn’t worried.

“Overall, it was a productive test,” said Graf Jr. who sits fifth in the championship standings. “We were working on long-run speed in our No. 77 EAT SLEEP RACE Ford and we were preparing to make our mock qualifying run and then the storms came.

“So, while we ended the test 10th quickest overall, I’m optimistic that we can have a super performance on Friday afternoon.”

Graf made two starts at the “Tricky Triangle” in 2018, and while a track-best 11th wasn’t exactly satisfying for Graf and his CBR team, Graf Jr. believes his track experience will pay dividends in the 80-lap race Friday afternoon.

“Pocono is so unique, it’s a race track that I just embrace and love to race at,” added Graf. “Each of the three turns are so different and you really have to set yourself up perfectly to get through the turns to set you up for the run on the straightaways.

“We felt content with our lap times during our long race pace. I think we still have some work to do during practice on Friday morning, but I think we’ll get there and have a good day on Friday.”

For the eighth 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-mile 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.”

Team owner and crew chief Chad Bryant says he is seeing calmness and focus out of his sophomore ARCA driver and he hopes his determination will lead to on-track success.

“While we were OK with our test results on Wednesday, we all want more and that’s a positive,” added Bryant. “Joe seems to get more comfortable with Pocono with every passing lap. We’ll make some tweaks on the car from the test to race day and hope Joe approves.

“There’s still a lot of racing left and opportunity to put our No. 77 team front and center where we feel like we belong and our chance at Victory Lane. There’s no quit in our race team, I promise you that.”

For this weekend at Pocono, Graf will carry the in-car camera myFace logos for his third start at Pocono Raceway. myFace is a leading non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of patients with craniofacial conditions.

Every hour a child is born in the United States with a craniofacial difference, which uniquely impacts both the body and spirit. In the U.S. approximately 600,000 individuals have been diagnosed with a craniofacial condition.
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 #AnywhereIsPossible 200 (80 laps | 200 miles) is the eighth of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Fri., May 31 with an hour practice session from 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. General Tire pole qualifying is set for later in the day at 12:00 p.m. The race is set to take the green flag later in the day shortly after 5:45 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 2 (FS2) with same day coverage on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) at 8:00 p.m. 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.