Arpin Grateful for Earnhardt's Comments
Topics: Steve Arpin, Dale Earnhardt Jr.
TOLEDO OH (11-19-09) - When Dale Earnhardt, Jr. speaks, people listen. ARCA RE/MAX Series driver Steve Arpin is finding that out.
"It's kind of funny you called about that," said Arpin. "Since Monday, my phone's been ringing off the hook."
Arpin is referring to comments Earnhardt made, first published at usatoday.com, regarding Arpin's future.
"Carl Edwards came to me in the middle of the season and said, ‘You need to look at this guy (Arpin).' I'd love to put him in the 5 car fulltime but I can't find any money for it," said Earnhardt.
While finding sponsorship in this economy is challenging no matter what your last name is, it still doesn't hurt to have an Earnhardt, or a Carl Edwards, speak out on your behalf.
"It's absolutely incredible," added Arpin. "I just got off the phone with the Toronto Star. I've heard from a ton of media, a lot of Canadian media. To be honest with you, that's how I first found out about it (Earnhardt's comments).
"It's so incredible, overwhelming for a guy like that with his enormous stature, that he's willing to help me try and get to that next level."
Earnhardt isn't the only big-name driver to stand up on Arpin's behalf. NASCAR veteran Carl Edwards has been bragging about Arpin for two years and counting.
Edwards, who recently watched Arpin whip up on the competition in a modified on some dirt track in Missouri, said that Arpin "jumped in a car that looked beat on, and made the rest of the guys look like they were tied to a tree." Edwards added, "We're trying to work out a deal with a Nationwide team, but it all boils down to sponsorship. I think he could race with us Sundays and win the near future, and he doesn't have a ride."
Arpin, from Fort Frances, Ontario, has been cutting his teeth in the modified ranks for a good many years, and with a great deal of success. So much success that he caught the attention of Edwards and one thing has led to the next - most notably Arpin's full season in the ARCA RE/MAX Series in 2009 where he finished 7th in driver points.
"To be potentially part of JR Motorsports is an incredible opportunity," continued Arpin. "It's such a fun organization. It's a family-run deal and it's so cool to working with Kelley (Earnhardt Elledge) and Joe Mattes. Joe worked with Dale Earnhardt, Sr. and now works with Dale, Jr.
"They're working as hard as they can, and I'm working as hard as I can. Put those elements together and I believe we can make something happen."
Arpin remains convinced that big things are still ahead.
"I've been working the phone all morning, and I'm going to keep going till we put something together. There are a lot of irons in the fire, and I'll keep going till we pull one out.
"Carl's (Edwards) been a great help. He's always helped me with direction. We talk all the time. I remember when I first met him I was star struck; but when you get to know him, you soon find out he's a regular guy like the rest of us. I remember the night of the ARCA race in Kansas; we were running our modified that night at Lakeside Speedway. Carl was on crutches but he still came out and hobbled around in the mud with us, crawled up on top the hauler to watch; it was really cool.
"No matter what level you're at, you still need money to race at that particular level. Whether you're running a modified at the local short track or you're Carl Edwards or Dale Earnhardt, Jr., you've still got to have the resources to run. I realize I'm at the bottom of the ladder; that only means I need to work that much harder to make something happen, and that I intend to do."
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