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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Beyond the Cockpit: Steve Arpin Hoping to Challenge for 2010 ARCA Crown

Bryan Davis Keith, Frontstretch: No one in the field here has really tackled this road course before. Talk about your thoughts on coming into the weekend at Palm Beach.

Steve Arpin: I think it’s going to be fun. You know, we’ve got a really good car. I didn’t get to actually race the race at New Jersey last year, but I tested there and I did alright. We learned a lot [when we] did the test here a couple of weeks ago, and we were pretty much at the top of the board, so we’re feeling pretty good about it. I went to California this week to Infineon Raceway to do a road-course school. I learned a bit there, and we’ll see if I can’t put myself in victory lane in my first road-course race.

Keith: Palm Beach is kind of a different road course than Infineon, there’s a lot of walls and confinement here. How does that enter into your thought process?

Arpin: It kind of seems like a go-kart track to me. There’s some high-speed parts, some real low speed parts of the track, it’s going to make things a bit more technical for us. But we’ve got a good, solid car. It handles well in the high speed stuff, it gets around the low-speed stuff just the same, so I think we’ll be in good shape.

Keith: Looking at the weather, rain tires may enter into the equation on Saturday. Your thoughts on that?

Arpin: I can’t wait. I’m praying for rain, I hope it rains. I raced snowmobiles back when I was younger, so that kind of falls into that category, and dirt racing is all I’ve ever done, so I think it’d be a lot of fun, getting to race in the rain. It would be a whole different deal, I don’t think anybody in the ARCA Series has ever done it, so it would be a first for all of us. It would completely level the playing field for sure.

Keith: What is your 2010 racing schedule looking like?

Arpin: We’re definitely working as hard as we can to go for the championship. Given that it’s our second season racing, we’re really hoping to go for the championship. We’ve got the funding secured all the way through Iowa now, and we’re working with a lot of sponsors right now to shore some stuff up. I’m with one of the best teams in the garage in Venturini Motorsports, and I’ve got awesome teammates in Alli [Owens] and Mikey Kile for the most part of the season. We’re all in this together and hopefully we’ll be there for all of the year.

Keith: Talk about that. At Venturini, a number of drivers come in and out, but here you do have three other cars here to bounce stuff off of. How does the teamwork function with this bunch?

Arpin: It’s one big team. That’s the best part about this deal. Last season I was with another team (Eddie Sharp Racing) that had four cars and, the most competition we had was amongst ourselves. Here, all the crew chiefs work on all the cars at the shop, and when we get to the race track we all help each other, it’s not individual competition. We all work as a group, we relay information and we’re always going to pass stuff off to the other guys. Sometimes it’ll help me, sometimes it’ll help them, but if they learn something they send it our way. It’s awesome. I mean Alli, she gets after it behind the wheel, Mikey gets after it, so we’re going to be right up front.

Keith: ARCA’s known for a diverse schedule. You’re going from a restrictor-plate race to a road course to start the season…

Arpin: And a couple dirt races!

Keith: I’m sure you’re looking forward to those. How does the start of the season change for you on such different race tracks?

Arpin: For me, and most of the other drivers out there, the ARCA Series is a development series for us. We’re here to get out there and learn. We’ve got to learn the restrictor-plate tracks, the road courses, intermediates, short tracks. And the dirt races. You don’t dirt race anywhere else, but it teaches you incredible car control. So it’s a perfect series for us because it allows us to learn all types of racing, and it gets us really prepped for the next step we take to the trucks or Nationwide Series.

Keith: Who are the favorites for this weekend in your eyes, besides yourself anyway?

Arpin: Oh my God, there’s going to be a bunch of them. Drivers coming back from a test are always going to come back faster, they’re going to have absorbed everything from the test like a sponge. You can always capitalize on that. [Patrick] Sheltra‘s going to be quick, Mikey Kile’s going to be quick, Alli’s going to be quick, there’s a bunch of guys. It’s going to be an exciting race.