Arpin ready to get back behind wheel

Lucas Punkari

It’s been nearly a month since Steve Arpin’s debut in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
But the Fort Frances native has been keeping busy with both racing and sponsorship responsibilities over the past few weeks before he gets back behind the wheel of the #32 Mike’s Hard Lemonade Chevrolet Silverado today for a pair of practice sessions in preparation for tomorrow night’s UNOH 225 at the Kentucky Speedway.
“I’ve actually been in Kentucky since Thursday of last week,” Arpin noted.
“We’ve been here doing appearances over the last weekend, and now we’re also working on getting some things ready for Iowa next week as well with Mike’s,” he added.
Most of what Arpin has been doing since his 23rd-place showing at the Texas Motor Speedway on June 10 is work with both the Turner Motorsports team and Mike’s Hard Lemonade over what they learned in their truck debut and, more importantly, what they can do better going forward.
“From the business end, we’re just making sure that we are doing everything right and also tweaking a few things that we can do a little bit better on from the Texas event,” Arpin remarked.
“On the competition side, I’ve been going over things with my crew chief [Doug George] over the good, the bad, the great, and the ugly from my performance at Texas, and figuring out where I can do better as a driver, and what we can work on from a set-up standpoint to get a little bit more out of our next race.”
Part of that work on the competition aspect included a couple of days of testing last week at the half-mile Gresham Motorsports Park, which is located in Jefferson, Ga.
“That went really good,” Arpin enthused. “One of the things that I learned there, personally, was just how to drive these things on a short track, as it’s completely different from driving on a mile-and-a-half.
“But the biggest things that I feel we are going to benefit from is that the test gave myself and Doug an opportunity to learn together,” he added.
“I got to learn the changes he likes to make and what they do to the truck, and he also learned a lot about me and what I like to feel in the truck and what set-ups I like.”
Prior to the test session, Arpin returned to the spotter’s stand for Turner Motorsports at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. on June 25, where he again spotted for teammate Justin Allgaier, who captured the checkered flag the last time Arpin helped him out at the Chicagoland Speedway on June 4.
It looked as if Arpin had picked up another win as a spotter when the race came to an end under caution. But as the field came back around the four-mile long, 14-turn road course to receive the checkered flag, Allgaier’s car ran out of gasoline and ended up finishing 19th.
“That was a bummer,” Arpin sighed. “We thought that we had it in the bag there, but we just didn’t have enough fuel to make it the rest of the way around.
“But it was still a lot of fun to that again.
“I really had to brush up on my lefts and my rights because you can’t say inside or outside anymore because they are turning both ways,” he joked.
Away from the track, Arpin also became an uncle on June 26 as his brother, Chuck, and his wife, Sarah, welcomed Peyton Lilly Arpin into the world.
“She’s just cute as a button and I cannot wait to see her in person,” he enthused.
“You always see how excited people get when they have a birth in the family, and while it’s not my own child, I now know first-hand that experience and it is an incredible feeling to be an uncle,” he added.
Before Arpin can meet his new niece, though, his main task will be on getting his truck to the front of the field at Kentucky—a track which he ran twice in the ARCA Series in 2009 with finishes of 29th and sixth, respectively.
“They have made a lot of changes to that track since I was here last,” he noted. “There’s been a lot of construction that they’ve done around here; they’ve changed the entry to pit road and to Turn 1.
“To be honest with you, when I came here back then, I was still trying to figure out what I was doing on asphalt, so I really don’t remember all that much about it,” he admitted.
“I’m really looking forward to running here, though, and it looks like it’ll be a fun track.”
Tomorrow night’s race, which is scheduled for 150 laps, also is the kick-off of the biggest weekend in the track’s 12 year history as it will be welcoming the Sprint Cup Series for the first time on Saturday evening.
“The level of excitement around here is so incredible, you would think that the president is coming to town or something like that,” Arpin said about the energy at the track, which is located between Louisville and Cincinnati.
“I was doing a radio show here on Sunday night, and just from talking with those guys, it’s a countdown to the biggest weekend in sports history for this area.
“It’s a pretty cool deal to be a part of it, and to be right in the middle of it is going to be awesome,” he enthused.
Just like he did going into his Truck Series debut at Texas, Arpin is setting his goals on getting a top 10 result, which is where he was running throughout most of his first-ever start.
“We had a great truck at Texas and we just made a little mistake in the pits at the end, and I tried to get a little too much out of the truck at the end and got involved in an incident there,” he recalled.
“I learned something, though, each and every lap I was out there, and I have had a lot of time to just learn and absorb all of that since.
“I’m really going to try and get the most out of this weekend, and make sure that it ends up being a good one,” Arpin stressed.