Ontario's Arpin Anxious for ARCA Go at Berlin; Last Run with ESR? MARNE MI (7-18-09) - Fort Frances, Ontario's Steve Arpin has every intention of making it to the top of the stock car racing world. His next stop in that quest - Berlin Raceway...
Ontario's Arpin Anxious for ARCA Go at Berlin; Last Run with ESR?
MARNE MI (7-18-09) - Fort Frances, Ontario's Steve Arpin has every intention of making it to the top of the stock car racing world. His next stop in that quest - Berlin Raceway for round 12 of the 2009 ARCA RE/MAX Series tour.
Trouble is, it may be his last race of the year with the no. 20 Eddie Sharp Racing (ESR) team. Or is it?
"It's not going to be our last race," proclaimed Arpin, who, after a not-so-good start in 2009, has turned things around over the last half-dozen shows or so. Unfortunately, ESR announced earlier this week that if some level of sponsorship did not come to fruition, Berlin would mark the end of the road for Arpin, who was just getting warmed up.
"Eddie (Sharp/team owner) is working really hard to find any possible funding he can to keep this team going, even if it's one race at a time. There are good, quality guys on this team with families to feed and I want to race more than anything."
With 10 races in the '09 books, Arpin finds himself seventh in ARCA RE/MAX Series points at the halfway point of the year. After disappointing finishes at Daytona and Salem, Arpin bounced back with a respectable 10th place run at Rockingham before the team slumped again with 29th and 21st place finishes at Kentucky and Toledo. Then the team seemed to bounce back for good starting with an 11th place finish at Pocono before Arpin's ESR bunch would rally with three consecutive top-10 finishes, including a career-best fifth at Mansfield.
For a dirt track modified guy who had not raced on asphalt until 2008, Arpin's mid-season rally is commendable.
And like all the rest of the tracks on tour, Berlin will be yet another new experience for Arpin, who, outside of simulated games on computer, he's never seen the place (Berlin) before.
"I've never seen Berlin, but I should be getting used to that. Heck, driving up to any track with pavement on it is new to me."
Arpin's numbers in the dirt modified ranks are eye-catching. Arpin broke into the spotlight in Minnesota and Wisconsin when he became the youngest driver to win the prestigious WISSOTA 100 at age 18. In 2007, Arpin won the UMP Winternational Championship and the Florida Nationals Championship with 18 feature wins overall under six different sanctioning bodies.
In 2008, Arpin would see asphalt for the first time when, after getting the attention of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series veteran Carl Edwards, he got the opportunity to drive Edwards's USAC Silver Crown car, earning Rookie of the Year honors.
And wouldn't you know it, just as Arpin's ARCA road may come to an end, the ARCA RE/MAX Series dirt tracks are just around the corner on the '09 schedule.
"I've been thinking about those two dirt tracks since I came to this series. That's something I've been really looking forward to, more than you could ever know. I mean, for me, that's the most exciting part of the schedule."
Arpin is referring to ARCA RE/MAX Series events at the Illinois State Fairgrounds mile-dirt in Springfield, Illinois (August 23) and at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois (September 7).
But there'll be no Springfield or DuQuoin without sponsorship. Regardless, he can say, without a doubt, he's going to Berlin for the Wolverine Power Systems 200 presented by Generac Saturday, July 25.
"We've got the SIM at home now; it helps me to get familiar with all these new tracks. It helps with reference points and makes you feel more at home when you finally get there. In that aspect, it's as real as can be. But you just can't simulate getting that 'seat-of-the-pants' feel you can only get when you actually get on it and feel it. No SIM can do that for you.
"Overall, I've learned so much here (ARCA) and I've had a blast. I'm not at all pleased with my results, so it's not over yet. We have a really bright future in this sport, and I'm not giving up until I make it to the Cup series."
Practice for the Wolverine Power Systems 200 presented by Generac at Berlin is scheduled from 2:30 - 4:00 PM ET Saturday, July 25th with Menards Pole Qualifying presented by Ansell following at 5:00. The Wolverine Power Systems 200 presented by Generac is scheduled to go off at 8:30 Saturday night.
Catch all the Berlin ARCA RE/MAX Series action at ARCAracing.com featuring Live Timing & Scoring of all on-track activities as well as live flag-to-flag streaming audio and video coverage of the race through the ARCA Racing Network.
Tickets for the ARCA RE/MAX Series at Berlin Raceway are available by contacting the Berlin Raceway Ticket Office at 616-677-5000, or through www.berlinraceway.com.