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

16 May 2019
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Joe Graf Jr. wants more than a podium finish in Toledo Speedway return CBR Photo

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 onboard 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).

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Steven B. Wilson

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