NASCAR Driver Joe Graf Jr. Taking Leave of Absence

Joe Graf Jr.

Getty Joe Graf Jr. will step away from NASCAR for a personal matter.

The No. 07 SS GreenLight Racing Ford Mustang will temporarily feature a new driver, starting with the Xfinity Series trip to Pocono Raceway. Joe Graf Jr. will take a temporary leave of absence due to a personal matter.

SS GreenLight Racing announced the news with a brief statement. The team said that Graf will deal with a private family matter, which will require him to temporarily step away from the No. 07 Ford Mustang. Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cole Custer will serve as his replacement at Pocono and the following week if necessary.

“While his absence should be brief, the SS GreenLight Racing with Jeff Lefcourt team is extremely appreciative and thankful for our alliance with Stewart-Haas Racing that will allow Cole Custer to compete in this weekend’s Pocono Mountains 225,” the team said on July 19.

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Graf Has Spent 3 Full Seasons with SS GreenLight Racing

Joe Graf Jr.

GettyJoe Graf Jr. has remained a key part of SS GreenLight Racing’s lineup.

Graf has started all but two races in 2022 for SS GreenLight Racing. He failed to qualify for the race at Auto Club Speedway on February 26, so he switched over to the No. 38 of RSS Racing for the event. He then joined BJ McLeod Motorsports for the July 2 trip to Road America.

Graf has one top-10 finish in 18 Xfinity Series starts this season. His best run was an eighth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway when he started 24th and largely avoided the incidents that collected 15 other drivers. Though Racing Reference lists him as being involved in a seven-car incident near the end of the race.

Graf has made 78 starts for SS GreenLight Racing during his Xfinity Series career. He has two top-10 finishes, both of which took place at Talladega Superspeedway. He finished 10th during the 2021 race before adding his second top-10 in 2022.

He also nearly secured a third during the most recent Xfinity Series race. Graf finished 12th at New Hampshire Motor Speedway while teammate David Starr finished 11th overall in the No. 08 entry.

Cole Custer Has Made Multiple Starts in the No. 07

Cole Custer

GettyCole Custer races at Road America on July 2.

The trip to Pocono Raceway will mark another start in the No. 07 SS GreenLight Racing entry for Custer. He has already suited up for three Xfinity Series races for the team while delivering strong performances.

Custer’s first start took place at Auto Club Speedway on February 26. He took over the No. 07 Ford Mustang and showed speed early. He qualified second overall and led 80 laps before taking the entry to Victory Lane. He secured the first win in SS GreenLight Racing’s history and kicked off the year on a strong note.

Custer returned to the entry for road course races at Circuit of the Americas (March 26) and Road America (July 2). He qualified on the first two rows in both races, and he delivered a third-place finish at the Texas road course. His day at Road America came to an early end after a brake issue sent him into the wall.

Custer will now return to the No. 07 at Pocono Raceway, a track where he has past success. He has made three starts at the Tricky Triangle and posted three top-10 finishes with two pole wins. His last start took place in 2019 when he started first, led 58 laps, and ended the day in Victory Lane.

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