Steve Arpin may be a newcomer to Global Rallycross, but he’s certainly no stranger to media attention. Having driven in some of the most high profile racing series in North America for esteemed owners like Dale Earnhardt Jr., Arpin brings a solid resume to GRC competition, where he will drive a Ford Fiesta for OMSE2 in 2013.
As GRC counts down to the start of the season, Arpin sat down for an interview to allow fans to get to know him better, both at and away from the track:
Do you have any pets?
I don’t, but I am looking to get a dog real soon, as soon as I can get it taken care of while I’m on the road.
When I’m not at the race track, you’ll most likely find me doing this:
One of my main hobbies is I’ve gotten into flying remote control airplanes, so I really enjoy doing that. And Jen, my new girlfriend, is big into sports, so you can definitely find me hanging out with my buddies, having a beer, watching the football game. It’s a really big thing for me—living in America, being from Canada, I have to learn football!
With how much I travel and how much my girlfriend works, any opportunity we have to do something together, we take. I have a little niece back at home, her name is Peyton and she’ll be two in June, and my brother has another baby coming. Jen has a little nephew, and my sister-in-law and her sister are due in August. So when we’re not racing this year, that’s going to consume a lot of our time as well.
Are you a fan of any sports teams?
I love the fact that the Winnipeg Jets are back. That was the first NHL game I went to years ago, and I went to college in Winnipeg. As far as favorite sports teams now, when I started dating Jen, a prerequisite was that I had to be a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes. So I’m definitely learning a lot about that and really enjoying it.
What do you do to prepare for race day?
My biggest thing leading up to race day is watching a lot of video. As far as on race day itself, I really try to analyze and be honest with myself about how practice went. When it comes to going into the main or the final, the car is what it is—it’s my responsibility to do the most I can to get the most out of the car possible. So my biggest thing on race day is critiquing myself and what I can work on.
My favorite form of social media is:
I definitely would have to go with Facebook. I’m still learning the Twitter thing. I’m looking to get better with that!
How do you keep in shape when you’re not racing?
I work out every day I’m at home. I try and keep cardio going while I’m away at the races. But a buddy of mine, Sean Caisse, he’s a big fitness nut, so he and I work out together on a regular basis. I also do a group crossfit training session a couple of times a week at a place down the street from my house. I try to keep it different—mix and change it up from just the gym and the weights.
My first job was:
When I was 12 years old, I started my first little business, building go-kart motors for all of the people we were racing against. We raced against all adults, and I was the local little engine builder at home.
The greatest win of my career was:
The most exciting win for me—it was just a big week of my life—was definitely Texas Motor Speedway in the ARCA Series. So many big things happened for me that week. It started out with winning Salem in the ARCA Series the week before, on Sunday. On Monday morning, we signed Mike’s Hard Lemonade as a sponsor. On Monday afternoon, Dale Earnhardt Jr. asked me to start driving for him a couple of weeks later at Talladega. So when we went to Texas, it was our first race with Mike’s Hard Lemonade, there was a lot of media attention with the announcement of the JR Motorsports opportunity, and then we went on to win the race. As you can imagine, that was a big week in my life.
If you could meet anyone you’ve never met, living or dead, who would you meet?
Dale Earnhardt. He was just an inspiration as a racecar driver in general. I’ll never forget the day he passed away—we were in Valcourt, Quebec, racing snowmobiles, and they announced it at the awards ceremony after the races. He essentially put NASCAR on the map, in my eyes. And he was just a man that spoke his mind, was an incredible race car driver but also an incredible spokesperson, and he did the right thing. He wasn’t afraid to put himself out there, even if it meant controversy.
What story does your family always tell about you?
How much time do we have? There’s a lot of them! I think the one that most commonly comes up is this. My family owned a marine dealership—we sold boats, motors, snowmobiles, all that kind of stuff, so we always had snowmobiles at the house growing up. I had my little snowmobile, a small Indy Light, 340 or something, and right beside it was my dad’s snowmobile—a Polaris Storm, the biggest one they made at the time. And I felt like the Indy Light was too small for me. My dad was at work, and there was a babysitter there, so I decided when I went out to go snowmobiling, “the Storm is right here, my dad’s not here to tell me I can’t take it, so why not?”
So I tried to start it, and it was one of those snowmobiles where you had to pull with one hand and give it some throttle with the other to get it running, and I just couldn’t do it, I wasn’t strong enough. I was maybe 10 years old. I had an absolute fixation back then, working in the shop with my dad, with zip ties. In my eyes, a zip tie could hold a train together back then if need be. So I thought it would be clever and smart if I zip tied the throttle, pulled it with two hands, and as soon as I started, I’d knock the zip tie off the throttle.
It started up right away, but I just fell backwards. Next thing you know, there’s a snowmobile in the front door of the house, right through the wall. It knocked the door frame and everything off! That one definitely gets repeated more often than I’d like it to.
We had a hard time keeping babysitters. I wasn’t a bad kid—I keep on trying to tell my parents this, I was just trying to make sure the babysitters were earning their money!
For more information on Steve Arpin’s 2013 Global Rallycross program, visit his website.