July 9th, 2010
CONCORD, N.C. — Steve Arpin has opted to not run for the ARCA Racing Series championship, instead skipping two races in July in order to compete in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
Arpin will step out of the No. 55 Venturini Motorsports entry at Mansfield (Ohio) Motorsports Park and Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., in order to drive the No. 88 JR Motorsports Chevrolet at Gateway Int’l Raceway in Madison, Ill., July 17 and Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa, July 31.
“This is one of those situations where an opportunity fell into my lap,” said Arpin, who plans to run the remainder of the ARCA schedule. “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.”
Arpin has already made five starts in the JR Motorsports No. 7 this year, with his best finish coming last weekend at Daytona Int’l Speedway where he finished 10th.
Reigning World of Outlaws Late Model Series champion Josh Richards will pilot the No. 55 Venturini Motorsports July 17 at Mansfield in Arpin’s place. His replacement for the event at Pocono will be announced later. Arpin, who has two ARCA victories this year, plans to return to the series Aug. 7 at Berlin Raceway in Marne, Mich.
“Before we even talked about business and money and what it costs to go racing, Billy (Venturini, team owner) 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.”
Tony Eury, Jr., 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 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.”