Steve Arpin Chasing Dream, Giving Way to Josh Richards for Two Races (TOLEDO, Ohio) - A primary focus for drivers in the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards is career advancement, and Steve Arpin is the latest to achieve success...
Steve Arpin Chasing Dream, Giving Way to Josh Richards for Two Races
(TOLEDO, Ohio) - A primary focus for drivers in the ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards is career advancement, and Steve Arpin is the latest to achieve success with that model.
Arpin will step out of the No. 55 Venturini Motorsports car for two July races, at Mansfield Motorsports Park and Pocono Raceway, in order to advance his NASCAR career in the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
The 26-year-old from Fort Frances, Ont. will instead drive on those weekends at Gateway International Raceway (July 17) and Iowa Speedway (July 31). Iowa is the site of this Saturday's ARCA Racing Series event, the Prairie Meadows 200. Arpin remains entered, and plans to return to the ARCA Racing Series for the balance of the schedule after his two races away, beginning August 7 at Berlin (Mich.) Raceway.
"This is one of those situations where an opportunity fell into my lap," Arpin said. "As important as everything in the ARCA series is to us, the long-term plan is for the JR Motorsports opportunity in front of us."
Since his debut with Venturini Motorsports last August at Pocono, Arpin and team general manager Billy Venturini have shared a future-oriented plan.
"Before we even talked about business and money and what it costs to go racing, Billy and I talked about if he can help achieve my goals and get exactly where I'm trying to go," Arpin said. "I laid out in front of him exactly what I wanted to do and he presented to me all the different ways he could help me."
Venturini called the move a "great thing" for his family's developmental organization.
"That's what we're paid to do, what we're trained to do," Venturini said. "We're really happy that Steve's getting the opportunity. We just feel flattered that we've given him a platform to show his skills and that this all happened."
A past ARCA race winner himself, Venturini said Arpin's practical outlook helped the process.
"Steve was very realistic, knowing what he had to learn, A to Z, to turn into a good Nationwide driver," he said. "He knew it took a little bit of time. It was very quick, though, considering the long-term ramifications it'll have on his career."
Tony Eury Jr., a crew chief and co-owner at JR Motorsports with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kelley Earnhardt, and Rick Hendrick, remarked that Arpin's ARCA preparation will prove advantageous in his team's plan to usher the driver into stock car racing's highest level.
"We've been keeping an eye on Steve's success in the ARCA Series for some time," Eury Jr. said. "The ARCA Series is a great place to scout young drivers. Our program at JR Motorsports is built around taking new talent, developing it, and grooming them for the ultimate transition into the Cup Series. Steve really has a step up on the competition with his experience running in ARCA. All these guys that are driving in ARCA right now are gaining a ton of seat time that will help prepare them for the next step in their career."
Though Arpin, who sits eighth in the standings and is ARCA's only multiple race winner this year, will forgo his pursuit of the ARCA driver championship, the No. 55 team remains committed to winning the owner championship in 2010.
"We started out the season going for an ARCA championship, both on the driver and owner sides. We've got the program, we've got the people, and we've got the team to still go after that owner's championship and win that," Arpin said. "That would be really important to the Venturinis and it'd be a cool thing for me to be a part of, so we're really going to push hard for that."
Josh Richards, a dirt racer like Arpin, will drive the car July 17 at Mansfield Motorsports Park. Richards won the 2009 World of Outlaws Late Model Series championship and leads that series' standings again this season. Richards, 22, has made five ARCA Racing Series starts in his career and two this season, with his best result a third-place finish at DuQuoin in 2007. Last season, both of Richards' starts were for Venturini Motorsports.