Steve Arpin had his breakout year this 2010 season. He had a solid year in the ARCA Series with multiple visits to victory lane and a chance to move up and run some Nationwide Series races for Dale Earnhardt Jr.
Arpin was honored for his success at the 2011 Canadian Motorsports Expo as the 2010 Inside Track Reader’s Choice Awards Canadian Racer at the Highest Levels of International Competition.
“It was a complete success for us,” Arpin said of the season. “Everything about 2010 was a definite success. There was definitely some learning curves throughout the year.
"We accomplished everything we wanted to accomplish. We wanted to go out there and run strong, run strong consistently and run upfront consistently. We wanted to open eyes and get an opportunity at a higher level, and we did that with JR Motorsports. We won the most races in the ARCA series.
"Unfortunately with the timing of the deal with JR Motorsports, we weren’t able to compete for the championship in the ARCA series. But everything I learned, the progression I made was all a true success.”
The season started off solid for the Fort Frances, Ontario native as he finished 10th and fifth in the first two ARCA races of the season. Though following a win in the third race of the season at Salem, the season took a whole new course in a 24-hour period.
“I would say the coolest part of my career is a 24 hour span,” Arpin said of the moment. “Last year, when we won Salem on Sunday night and Monday morning, we signed Mike’s Hard Lemonade to sponsor the ARCA program and then Monday afternoon, Dale Jr. called me to drive his racecars. I say that has to be the biggest memory of my life.”
Arpin drove seven races for JR Motorsports in 2010, including a 10th place finish at Daytona last July. Arpin says that lessons learned there led to the ARCA Series success that he would have in winning three races, seven top fives and 10 top 10s. Arpin comes from a dirt background so he has worked at taking advantage of all the seat time to learn more.
“The biggest thing for me is that in my career, I’ve only got 47 asphalt races to this day and there’s a lot to learn,” he told me. “These are a whole different type of racecar so we’ve been really working hard at a developing myself, developing me to the point where I’m comfortable in every situation. Its not so much being comfortable, but making the right decisions and there’s a lots of things you got to learn the hard way and do wrong before you know what’s right, and we went through a lot of that. I shouldn’t say we went that a lot this year—we made a lot of wrong decisions in 2009 and I was able to go back and be put in those same situations this year and come out ahead of the game making the right decisions.”
For 2011, Arpin is working at continuing to run more NASCAR races to continue moving up the ladder and growing as a driver.
“I’ve got all my plans—I’ve just got to convince all the teams owners to go along with it,” he said. “We’ve been working feverishly on it and we actually had a lot of big meetings this past week. I’m not at liberty to say exactly what the plans are, but we’re hoping in the next two or three weeks that we have an announcement.”
According to a report in the Toronto Sun, Arpin has spoken with JR Motorsports about running some races for them in the No. 7 car when Danica Patrick isn't driving it, but is also talking to other teams.
Arpin has already been behind the wheel in 2011 season as he tested at Daytona for Venturini Motorsports during the ARCA test.
“The new surface is awesome,” he said. “It’s going to make for awesome racing. I tested twice there since the new surface has been down—the tire test for Hoosier and the ARCA test for Venturini Motorsports. Venturini had a whole fleet of fast racecars there; it’d be cool to go back there and drive one, but the new race track is going to make for awesome racing.
"I think you’re going to see the whole bunched up, nose-to-tail, a lot tighter, more so like you do at Talladega. But then in token with the transitions so much more aggressive at Daytona, it’s going to make for a lot of interesting scenarios throughout the race.”
Arpin would like to run the Daytona race, though is still working at locking down a deal to do it. He originally just went down to just coach Venturini Motorsports young drivers Hal Martin and Kyle Fowler, though ended up also testing a car for them.
“But Billy brought me down as he knows I work well with the young guys and Kyle and Hal are doing absolutely great,” he said. “Hal has done a couple speedway races before so he knows a little bit more of what’s going on and Hal is really going to come on strong and fit in real good.”
With having a diverse background, Arpin has hit a lot of tracks throughout his career, whether dirt and asphalt, so it equals no wonder that he has a diverse list of favorites.
“Every time we go to a racetrack and at the end of the race, I say ‘God, that’s my favorite track’ and so, I couldn’t honestly tell you what my favorite track would be,” he said. “As far as dirt tracks, my favorite track by far is Deer Creek Speedway up in Rochester, MN. Asphalt so far—asphalt racing, every track is completely different.
"A short track—my favorite one would be Salem, just because it’s high-banked, its rough and you’re just up on the wheel every lap. And then you go to the intermediate tracks and that’s more of a mental focus. It’s more of a mental chess game as you have to figure how to use the air and do things like that right. So intermediate tracks, I’d have to say Texas for sure and Daytona is just Daytona—it’s the coolest place ever, just the history there.”