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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The last time ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards driver Joe Graf Jr. (@joegrafjr) participated in a restrictor plate ARCA race – he found himself as a runner-up in the closest finish in series’ history last April at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

This weekend, Graf Jr. hopes to have a role of reversal as he treks to Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway for Saturday afternoon’s Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire.

Joining the ARCA tour after Daytona last year, Graf Jr. will compete for the series’ championship aboard Chad Bryant Racing’s No. 77 Ford Fusion and with tough competition anticipated for the 20-race crown, Graf Jr. is ready to get down to business at the “World Center of Racing.”

“This is certainly a bucket list item to race at Daytona,” said Graf Jr. who finished eighth in the 2018 points standings despite missing one race. “We’re racing for a championship this season and a good run on Saturday will help our efforts. I know though when it comes to plate racing, finishing can sometimes come down to luck.”

Paired with 2016 ARCA championship crew chief and team owner Chad Bryant for his sophomore season of competition, Graf Jr. says he taken the steps to ensure he’s ready for the battle ahead and believes the guidance of Bryant will continue to accelerate his learning curve in ARCA.

“During the offseason, I really started to work out hard and make some adjustments in my lifestyle to make sure I’m ready to do my part this year,” Graf Jr. added. “I know that Chad (Bryant) and the rest of the Chad Bryant Racing (CBR) team are going to do their best to bring fast race cars to the track and I need to make sure I’m giving the team more than 100 percent behind the wheel.”

Graf Jr. and the Mooresville, N.C.-based team participated in the two-day open test session at the 2.5-mile superspeedway in mid-January and while his No. 77 EatSleepRace.com Ford Fusion wasn’t at the top of the charts, the 20-year-old knows that this weekend is when speed and finesse count most.

“We learned a lot at the test,” he continued. “Chad and the guys made many adjustments during the two-day test and with every lap on the track we were gathering data to get back. We’ve made a lot modifications to our car since then and I’m eager to get on the track and see what we can do.”

As for his goals for his Daytona debut, Graf Jr. says he wants to earn his second career ARCA win – but also knows he’ll have to be realistic if that can’t happen.

“We all go to the track every weekend with the intention and goal to win,” Graf Jr. sounded. “We have the cars and people to win many races this year, we just need to see how the race pans out. If we don’t win and can leave Daytona with a top-10 finish – we’ll take that as a positive for the big picture.”

After joining CBR at the Daytona test, 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 80-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.

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.

“It means a lot to me to continue my relationship with Eat Sleep Race at Daytona this weekend,” said Graf. “Being from New Jersey, we share a common bond and have great ideas on how we can enhance our partnership as the season rolls on. Looking forward to carrying their colors this weekend at Daytona!”

Bryant says Graf Jr.’s focus during the test and his approach to the impending season has the morale at CBR in a good place.

“We’re excited to have Joe for another season,” Bryant said. “He is so focused on going out there and succeeding, there doesn’t appear anything can stand in his way. We will continue to do our job as a team and support one another on and off the track and plan to have a great season starting at Daytona this weekend.”

In 19 ARCA races, Graf Jr. has one career ARCA win (Berlin Raceway, August 2018), six top-five and eight top-10 finishes. He earned a career-best qualifying effort of fourth at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway in May 2018.

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 Lucas Oil 200 driven by General Tire (80 laps | 200 miles) is the first of 20 races on the 2019 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards schedule. Practice begins Thurs., Feb. 7 with a two-hour session from 4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. A final practice session has been etched in on Fri., Feb. 8 from 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Group qualifying is set for later in the day at 3:30 p.m. The season-opener for the 67th consecutive ARCA season is set to take the green flag on Sat., Feb. 9 shortly after 4:30 p.m. The event will be televised live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1), while ARCARacing.com will stream live timing and scoring throughout the entire weekend festivities.

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.

Contact: [email protected]

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