Steve Arpin Gets First NASCAR Top 10 at Daytona

Ashley McCubbinAnalyst IJuly 13, 2010

TALLADEGA, AL - APRIL 23:  Steve Arpin, driver of the #7 JR Motorsports Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Nationwide Series Aaron's 312 at Talladega Superspeedway on April 23, 2010 in Talladega, Alabama.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

At the end of the Subway Jalapeno 250, the spotlight was on Dale Earnhardt Jr. as he took the checkered flag.

Teammate Steve Arpin also took his place in the spotlight as he got his first NASCAR Nationwide Series top 10 finish coming in 10th.

"To come out of Daytona with a top-10 was an amazing feeling for me,” Arpin said.

“The guys back at the JRM shop have put a ton of work into our restrictor-plate program and I think it showed with the finish we had there."

The race came down to handling as a lot of people were talking about the track being slick and rough.

"That's just the way the track has always been,” Arpin said. “It's a slippery, bumpy racetrack. My teammate Greg Sacks told me that back when he won here in 1985, the track had all the same bumps in it. They've just gotten bigger over the years."

Though along with Sacks, boss Earnhardt Jr. was there to help by teaching Arpin some lessons in practice about drafting.

"It's no secret Dale Jr. is one of the best drafters in the business,” Arpin said. “So it was fun to get up front and mix it up with him a little bit. Anytime I'm around him on the track, I watch his every move. I can learn a lot about working the draft just by being around him. It was pretty cool."

It was also the first race for the new Nationwide car, which a lot of people were talking about afterwards.

"It was a lot different than the cars we're used to running,” Arpin said. “But they were fun. At times they were a handful, and you really had to be up on the wheel and focused at the job at hand."

Going into the Daytona weekend, things hadn’t been going as well as he hoped as Arpin had suffered some wrecks in his previous starts. Though he says overall that things have been going well.

"Things are going great at JRM,” he said. “They're a fun bunch of guys and I've been spending a lot of time with them. On the week's I've been driving, I've gone into the shop and helped out working on the cars the best I can."

One of the key people helping Arpin learn the NASCAR ranks has been veteran crew chief and part-owner Tony Eury Jr.

"Tony Jr. is a great crew chief and mentor,” Arpin said. “Even for his age, he's got a ton of experience and has seen pretty much everything this sport can throw at  you. He's an awesome guy to have in your corner."

As far as looking forward to his time in the car, Arpin says that he’s just happy about the opportunity.

“To be racing for one of the premiere teams in the garage in JR Motorsports is a dream come true for me," he said. "I want to focus on finishing every race. There has been a couple times this season where we've been caught up in some accidents. So if we can avoid some of those situations, I think you'll see this us somewhere in the top 10."

Look for Arpin this coming weekend at Gateway as he takes the wheel behind the No. 88 Blue Harbor Bank Chevrolet for JR Motorsports Saturday night.

As a result of Arpin running Gateway, Josh Richards will fill Arpin’s seat in the No. 55 ARCA car for Venturini Motorsports in Ohio. Arpin will also miss the July 31st ARCA race at Pocono Raceway as a result of the Nationwide race he’s running at Iowa, yet no replacement has been announced yet.