Joe Graf Jr. is excited about the three-week break that he and his Chad Bryant Racing Team have off after 11 straight weeks of action in eight different states in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s. The Iron Man battled a broken foot, severe knee pain and the newness of visiting race tracks he has not raced at before to solidify his eighth place in series points and earning a respect from competitors and series officials.
“It’s been a long 11 weeks, “said Graf. “I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything. I believe that our team is strong after working together under such intense conditions. Chad Bryant gave me great race cars, Paul Andrews made such great strategy decisions, Mike Bliss coached me and taught me so much and Pockets, Brian Crammer, my spotter was my eyes in the sky.”
Graf Jr. originally signed a six-race deal with Chad Bryant Racing that began at Nashville in early April. Just prior to that event Joe broke his left foot making his task a little tougher but not enough to stop the “Iron Man” in his quest to make it to the elite levels of racing.
“We originally were going to run six races,” said Graf. “We achieved some of our goals in the first few races and the next thing you know we are racing at Talladega and adding more races to the schedule.”
Joe didn’t find out that he was running the 2.66-mile Super Speedway until mid-week but made the most of the opportunity. Graf and fellow competitor Zane Smith battled side-by-side in what seemed like a wrestling match on wheels on the final circuit…and when the dust settled the margin of victory could only be measured with a microscope.
“I still believe that we won the race,” grinned Graf. “The result of that race was that we committed to run all of the remaining races on the ARCA Series schedule and I couldn’t be happier with the decision. It was kind of cool when my Dad was at a function in Charlotte in May and 2017 NASCAR Champion Martin Truex Jr. was there and they talked a little, and he said oh, Joe Graf Jr., he was in that close race at Talladega.”
Joe Graf Jr. has turned heads on the 2018 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard’s. The New Jersey native has recorded five Top 5 and seven Top 10 finishes and would be higher than his eighth place in points if he had run the first race of the year at Daytona. ARCA gives a 250-point bonus for running the first five races as an incentive…which Joe did not receive because they had not planned on running the entire year and missed that first event. Adding his average finish for the season for the Daytona race and the five-race bonus he would be sitting solidly in fifth place in points and close to as high as third.
“I believe that we have improved dramatically as a team over the 11-race stretch,” beamed the soon to be freshman at New York University.” “We are strong at the short tracks and are improving on the intermediate tracks which should work to our advantage over the last six events of the season. I believe that we can bring our Chad Bryant Racing, Big Tine No. 77 Ford to victory lane.”
To learn more about Joe Graf Jr. go to www.joegrafracing.com.