Tag Archives: Steve Arpin

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By the Numbers: 2013 Global Rallycross Season

With the 2013 Global Rallycross season now a memory, it’s time to look back on the nine-race season and recognize some of the statistical outperformers in the Supercar class.

IT ALL STARTS IN SEEDING: Earning a top spot in seeding doesn’t guarantee a driver a victory in the main event, but qualifying well certainly helps. No matter the stat—whether it’s average starting spot or most top seeds—Ken Block is at the top of the list:

Average Start:

Top Seeds Earned:

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HEATING UP: The Supercars class ran a total of 45 heats this season, with each driver having up to 13 opportunities to earn a bonus point. Once again, Block was the class of the field in that regard:

Heat Victories Earned:

Block’s only two heat losses came in Brazil, where he finished second to Toomas Heikkinen, and in the second Munich race, where Liam Doran beat him. Still, Block’s performance was so strong in the heats that he was the only full-time driver not to appear in a last chance qualifier in 2013.

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MOVING UP THE FIELD: An underwhelming performance in seeding didn’t mean a driver couldn’t score a good finish at the end of the race. In fact, Travis Pastrana made a habit of finishing much better than he started, and moving up the field was a crucial part of Toomas Heikkinen’s championship run as well:

Plus/Minus (cumulative finishing positions gained from seeding result):

DRIVER OR CAR?: Not every Supercars team was fortunate enough to have the same driver in the car for each race in 2013. But while a driver rotation didn’t help a team’s efforts at consistency, by no means did it keep a team from scoring strong finishes. In fact, five of the 15 top cars in Global Rallycross this season, noted below in italics, saw multiple drivers behind the wheel, with the #199 Dodge Dart of Travis Pastrana and Timur Timerzyanov best among them:

  1. #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST, 169 points
  2. #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST, 123
  3. #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST, 115
  4. #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST, 106
  5. #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta, 94
  6. #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart, 90
  7. #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST, 89
  8. #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross WRX STI, 86
  9. #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta, 79
  10. #33/40 LD Motorsports/Prodrive MINI Countryman, 64
  11. #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross WRX STI, 49
  12. #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart, 42
  13. #29 Marklund Motorsport Volkswagen Polo, 33
  14. #40 Subaru PUMA Rallycross WRX STI, 31
  15. #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo, 31

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FULL STATISTICS: Advanced statistics for each driver to compete in more than half of the Supercars races in 2013:

 

Driver Starts Wins Pts. (Per Race) Heat Wins (Pct.) LCQs (Pct.) Finals Made (Pct.) Avg. St. Avg. Fin.
Steve Arpin
#32 OMSE2
9 0 79
(8.8)
0/13 (0%) 1/4 (25%) 6/9 (66%) 7.56 8.22
Ken Block
#43 Hoonigan Racing
9 1 115 (12.8) 11/13 (85%) 0/0 (N/A) 9/9 (100%) 3.22 6.33
Brian Deegan
#38 OlsbergsMSE
9 0 106 (11.8) 4/13 (31%) 1/2 (50%) 8/9 (88%) 4.33 6.11
Liam Doran
#33 LD Motorsports
5 1 59 (11.8) 3/6 (50%) 0/1 (0%) 4/5 (80%) 3.80 7.00
Tanner Foust
#34 OlsbergsMSE
9 0 123 (13.6) 7/13 (54%) 1/2 (50%) 8/9 (88%) 5.56 4.89
Toomas Heikkinen
#57 OlsbergsMSE
9 5 169 (18.8) 9/13 (69%) 1/1 (100%) 9/9 (100%) 4.11 1.89
Sverre Isachsen
#11 Subaru PUMA
8 0 86 (10.8) 2/12 (16%) 2/3 (66%) 7/8 (87%) 6.25 6.75
Bucky Lasek
#81 Subaru PUMA
8 0 49
(6.1)
0/12 (0%) 1/7 (14%) 2/8 (25%) 11.12 10.87
Bryce Menzies
#99 Pastrana Racing
8 0 35
(4.4)
0/11 (0%) 0/7 (0%) 1/8 (12%) 12.62 12.62
Dave Mirra
#40 Subaru PUMA
#40 Prodrive
7 0 36
(5.1)
0/10 (0%) 1/7 (14%) 1/7 (14%) 11.28 11.86
Travis Pastrana
#199 Pastrana Racing
5 0 56 (11.2) 1/7 (14%) 1/1 (100%) 5/5 (100%) 11.40 6.20
Patrik Sandell
#18 OlsbergsMSE
9 0 89
(9.9)
2/13 (15%) 1/4 (25%) 6/9 (66%) 6.78 7.67
Scott Speed
#77 OMSE2
9 2 94 (10.4) 5/13 (38%) 3/5 (60%) 7/9 (77%) 7.78 8.00
Timur Timerzyanov
#199 Pastrana Racing
#29 Marklund Motorsport
5 0 34
(6.8)
0/7 (0%) 3/5 (60%) 3/5 (60%) 8.80 10.40

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

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Global Rallycross Race Preview: Las Vegas Strip

IN BRIEF: The 2013 Global Rallycross season concludes on the Las Vegas Strip, marking the second consecutive season that GRC ends up under the bright city lights. Newly crowned series champion Toomas Heikkinen will attempt to earn his unprecedented sixth win of the season.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

SPOTTER GUIDE/DRIVER STATS: CLICK HERE for the full entry list.

LIVE TIMING: CLICK HERE for Live Timing

LAST RACE: After nearly three long months, a driver was finally able to end Toomas Heikkinen’s reign atop the Global Rallycross podium. Racing in front of friends and family in his hometown, Scott Speed took his second victory of 2013 at The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, beating Brian Deegan and Heikkinen to the finish. However, Heikkinen still clinched the championship with a 50-point lead heading into the season finale.

DRIVER CHANGES: After a significant shake-up to the entry list in Charlotte, all 15 drivers from the previous event will return to competition in Las Vegas. They will be joined by a single addition: Rhys Millen, who will return to his Hyundai Veloster as a teammate to Stephan Verdier for the first time since this race last year. Millen’s lone start of the season thus far saw him finish fourth at X Games Los Angeles.

THE TRACK: This year’s Las Vegas layout contains many similarities to the layout that Global Rallycross used last year, including a wide start and long straightaway into the first corner. The paved section features two sweeping corners into a hairpin, before drivers encounter the jump and joker lane in the dirt section. The final corner is a wide right hander, taking drivers past the start-finish line at speed.

BIG NAMES STILL LOOKING FOR FIRST WIN OF 2013: Only three drivers—Toomas Heikkinen, Scott Speed, and Liam Doran—have scored victories in the 2013 Global Rallycross season, leaving numerous big names fighting to stave off winless seasons. Defending Las Vegas race winner Tanner Foust, 2012 championship runner-up Brian Deegan, 2012 New Hampshire victor Travis Pastrana, and nine-time 2013 heat winner Ken Block are among those searching for the top step of the podium this year. It would have been almost unfathomable at the start of the year, but all four may go winless if they don’t get lucky in Las Vegas.

THE RACE FOR SECOND: Though Toomas Heikkinen has the 2013 Global Rallycross Supercars title locked up, four drivers can mathematically leave Las Vegas with second place in the season standings. Tanner Foust currently holds the spot by two points over Brian Deegan, while Ken Block lurks in the shadows at 11 points behind Foust. Even Scott Speed, at 20 points behind second place, can earn the runner-up position with a victory and some unfortunate luck for his competitors.

MILLEN RETURNS TO RALLYCROSS: Rhys Millen, who fielded a car for Stephan Verdier in the previous GRC event at Charlotte, will return to the series in Las Vegas, where he finished third last season. Millen has been active in Global Rallycross since the sport’s inaugural season, debuting his Hyundai Veloster in 2011 finishing tied for third in the 2012 standings. This year, Millen earned a runner-up finish in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb and filmed the television special “Driven: A Race Without Boundaries” before competing at X Games Los Angeles, where he finished fourth in his lone start of 2013 so far.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Thursday’s Global Rallycross event on the Las Vegas Strip:

Patrik Sandell, Driver, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “My first contact with Global Rallycross was here one year ago. Before then, I had only been racing stage rally, but when I came here and saw this I realized this was the place to be. I’m completely focused on trying to win the last race—I like the whole track. One thing that’s good is that the first turn is quite fast, so I think it will be quite a fair race without a crash in the first corner. That’s good for me, because when I’m free I can go fast!”

Scott Speed, Driver, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta: “The track looks amazing. It’s the best one we’ve had all year! I’m super excited to run here in the heart of Las Vegas.”

Steve Arpin, Driver, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta: “Coming to Vegas, I’m not sure if I’m more excited about coming to Vegas and seeing how awesome the track is going to be, or bummed out that this is the end of the season. Looking at the track yesterday, walking around it, I didn’t sleep at all last night—I was like a little kid waiting for Santa to come thinking about getting out there. It’s going to be so fast and so much fun, and there are so many opportunities to race, to pass, and to try different lines and techniques.”

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 154
  2. Tanner Foust, 104
  3. Brian Deegan, 102
  4. Ken Block, 93
  5. Scott Speed, 84

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 303
  2. Subaru, 131
  3. Dodge, 106

Photo credit: Tom Donoghue

GRC Personalities // Steve Arpin: Dirt Tracks and Home Tracks

As soon as I saw that the Charlotte race was on the schedule, and especially as soon as I heard that it was going to be held on The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway, that was the one my radar locked onto for the year. That was going to be my Super Bowl for the year, that race. And I was excited about it. I’d be racing at home, my fiance’s whole family was coming down, my whole family was going to make it but at the last second plans changed. It was just going to be all of my friends and family.

Obviously I was in the NASCAR industry, and this is the hub for it—all the friends and families that I’ve built relationships with over the last four or five years were coming out just to see us. On top of that, it was a dirt track. That is me. It was clay—it wasn’t the gravel or all other sorts of surfaces we’ve been on all year. A big part of the dirt oval was used, and it was just exciting.

The race track was so cool. It combined a couple of different elements—it combined some asphalt on the start, asphalt on top when we left the race track, and a long, banked dirt corner. Where I enjoyed it was that the track essentially changed where the preferred line was, where the ruts were—everything changed, not only every time we were on the race track, but essentially each and every lap we came around. You were encountering something new in every corner. It was so much fun, it was such a mental challenge, and it was just really neat.

There was definitely some adaptation. Everything I’ve ever raced has been rear wheel only, and just a completely different style of racecar. Any time you put a really narrow tire, like the style we run in GRC, on the cars, along with all-wheel drive, it’s a completely different animal. But at the same time, I think everything I learned about—what the track’s going to do, how to read the race track, how to put yourself in the right place at the right time—it was kind of like riding a bike. Right off the bat, I felt right back at home.

We started the weekend out great. The Royal Purple Ford was so good—I honestly don’t think we made a single adjustment to it. We went out there and we originally set fast time, but I didn’t realize they weren’t going to let the first lap count! So after the first lap, they told me we were the fastest, and we chilled out and just tried things for the remaining five laps. Later on, we learned that the first lap didn’t count.

We had a great couple of heat races. We had a flat tire in the second heat, which put us in the LCQ, and won the LCQ. People always say you can’t win the race on the first lap, but I proved them wrong! Honestly, the best part of my position was, that was the best start we had all year long. We got an awesome hole shot, and we were clear in front. At that point, I didn’t take a look in my rear view mirror at all to see what was going on.

I came back around and there was a lot of carnage, so I honestly don’t know what happened. But it’s racing! I’ve heard a lot of different stories about what went on behind me. But it’s the LCQ, and we all need to get into the main. That LCQ was stacked—it was a final on its own with the quality of drivers that were in it. I’ve raced with Tanner Foust a lot this year, and he’s been nothing but a gentleman. A person with as much respect as he has both on and off the race track doesn’t come by that respect accidentally. So I would have to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that if there was a car malfunction, he’s probably speaking from the heart and sincere when he talks like that. If it was just an accident, a bad racing deal, it’s just one of those things that happened. He apologized, and you go on to the next race.

Everything changed when the second tire went down in the final. By the end of it, I felt like I was a construction worker that had a hold of a jackhammer for about 26 hours straight. That steering wheel was shaking so bad. It was my own fault—we had the issue in the heat race with the right rear tire going down, and we made adjustments to compensate for that, but I didn’t even think to make the adjustments on the entire right side instead of just the right rear. Lesson learned for me, it will not happen again.

Driving it with the right front going down, you could get it on the right handers with the right front tire going down and the left front doing all the work, but on all of those left handers there was a lot of handbraking being used. There were a lot of different shifting patterns, a lot of RPMs trying to get turned with the throttle pedal. By the end of that race my arms were like rubber. They were just shot.

Everyone at the Charlotte Motor Speedway and GRC, in my eyes, did such a great job. We never really had a jump, but the track provided enough excitement, enough side-by-side, intense, hard racing, that it completely slipped my mind that we didn’t have a jump.

All of these places I’ve always wanted to race growing up, and never had the opportunity, I’m getting to come to for the first time in a GRC car. It’s so cool! I’ve gotten to accomplish so many things for the first time that I’ve always wanted to do in life in general. Traveling the world—we got to travel all over the place this year. Bristol Motor Speedway—of all race tracks, and all things in my life, I wanted to say that I raced at Bristol Motor Speedway the most. I’ve always wanted to come back to The Dirt Track at Charlotte Motor Speedway and race there, and the stars hadn’t aligned for that yet, but I got to do it in a GRC car. I’ve always wanted to go to SEMA in Las Vegas, and we’re going to be racing right outside it and get to be a part of it for a day or two!

It’s been such a cool year, such a cool experience, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many great people. Everyone at OMSE, the whole team in Sweden. Tanner Foust has been an absolute savior to me. He’s been so great in taking the time to explain things to me, and to help teach me a lot of the lessons that most people have to learn the hard way, that he’s probably learned the hard way himself, but he’s passed most of that knowledge and wisdom on to me. It’s just been such an incredible experience all year long.

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

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Global Rallycross Race Recap: The Dirt Track at Charlotte

IN BRIEF: Scott Speed won the battle, but Toomas Heikkinen won the war—while Speed took his second win of the year in the Sylvania Silverstar zXe Global Rallycross at The Dirt Track at Charlotte, Heikkinen took home the 2013 Global Rallycross Driver’s Championship and $20,000 Sylvania Silverstar zXe Cup bonus.

HEAT RECAPS: Ken Block, once again, asserted his dominance in heat races by winning both 1A and 2A. Block’s nine heat victories are more than any other driver in GRC this year. Meanwhile, four other drivers—Travis Pastrana (1B), Tanner Foust (1C), Scott Speed (2B), and Brian Deegan (2C) also won heat races, though Dave Mirra could have easily won heat 2B if not for a jump start penalty that was later deemed incorrect. The LCQ was canceled after numerous accidents with Steve Arpin, Stephan Verdier, and Toomas Heikkinen in the three transfer spots.

MAIN EVENT RECAP: A major accident in the first pass through the fourth turn led to a red flag situation, as Scott Speed, Bucky Lasek, and Brian Deegan appeared to be the top three drivers in the field. Speed got the holeshot in the second attempted start as well, leading Deegan and Block.

Block’s right front tire came apart early in the event, dropping him down the order as he spun multiple times. Meanwhile, Heikkinen recovered from a series of unlucky breaks in his heat races and the final transfer spot of the LCQ to finish third. Deegan chased down Speed, closing in as the race progressed, but the X Games Brazil gold medalist still took the victory by just over three seconds.

RESULTS: The results from Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at The Dirt Track at Charlotte:

  1. Scott Speed, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  2. Brian Deegan, #38 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  3. Toomas Heikkinen, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  4. Stephan Verdier, #4 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster
  5. Steve Arpin, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta
  6. Bucky Lasek, #81 Subaru PUMA Rallycross WRX STI
  7. Ken Block, #43 Hoonigan Racing Division Ford Fiesta ST
  8. Sverre Isachsen, #11 Subaru PUMA Rallycross WRX STI
  9. Travis Pastrana, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  10. Tanner Foust, #34 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  11. Pat Moro, #59 PMR Motorsports Chevrolet Sonic
  12. Dave Mirra, #40 Prodrive MINI Countryman
  13. Patrik Sandell, #18 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST
  14. Bryce Menzies, #99 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart
  15. Nelson Piquet Jr., #12 X Team Racing Mitsubishi Evo

QUOTES: A selection of quotes from Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at The Dirt Track at Charlotte:

Toomas Heikkinen, Driver, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: “It’s been a great year. Now we get the championship with the one point that we needed. But I’m still looking forward and want to win the last one. Of course I want to be on the podium still—that’s what I’m looking for, and that is our goal.”

Scott Speed, Driver, #77 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta: “We were pretty solid all day. In these things, you can be fast—we were pretty fast at Bristol but we didn’t even make the final—so you’ve got to be lucky not to get in any crashes. We stayed out of trouble, got lucky, and were able to win again.”

Stephan Verdier, Driver, #4 Rhys Millen Racing Hyundai Veloster: “I’m ecstatic, especially when I was last after lap one of the final. I stalled the car in the hairpin—I thought I was top three but then I was all the way last by a mile. Good wheels saved us, because everybody else kept getting flat tires, and we kept picking them off one at a time. The car is beat, Rhys is going to be so mad at me, but we got fourth! I think we have one body panel left. But we blew out a shock, and we had a transmission issue too. The boys worked hard today. But fourth place is awesome—and it was fourth place on speed.”

Steve Arpin, Driver, #32 OMSE Ford Fiesta: “I feel like we should have been a lot better! We had such a fast car today. It started out in qualifying—we had the first lap and it was fast, and they told me to cool it down for the rest of it, but I guess they don’t count the first lap. I had a blast on the racetrack. We had so much rain last night, but everyone did such a good job making the race track as good as it was. It was so soft, so easy to run up, but somehow they were able to maintain it and have a good race track. We just kept having flat tires—two of them today took us out of it. But the Royal Purple Ford was so good, I wish we could go out there and do it again. Even if we had another flat tire, it was just so much fun every time around the race track.”

Dave Mirra, Driver, #40 Prodrive MINI Countryman: “First and foremost, I want to thank PUMA, Liam Doran, and Prodrive for the MINI. It was an unbelievable car, super fast. I won practice yesterday, qualified second today, clearly was reeling in some other heat drivers in the other races, but things just didn’t go right. I got called for a jump start—Joey (Mancari) came back and reviewed it and said it wasn’t a jump start. We went to the LCQ and all hell broke loose. I’m pretty bummed about the race. It kind of stinks, because I know I was very fast.”

FAST FACTS: A collection of facts from Saturday’s Sylvania SilverStar zXe Global Rallycross at Atlanta Motor Speedway:

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 154
  2. Tanner Foust, 103
  3. Brian Deegan, 101
  4. Ken Block, 93
  5. Scott Speed, 84
  6. Patrik Sandell, 79
  7. Sverre Isachsen, 74
  8. Steve Arpin, 70
  9. Liam Doran, 59
  10. Bucky Lasek, 46
  11. Travis Pastrana, 41
  12. Dave Mirra, 36
  13. Timur Timerzyanov, 34
  14. Mattias Ekstrom, 26
  15. Anton Marklund, 26
  16. Bryce Menzies, 21
  17. Stephan Verdier, 18
  18. Townsend Bell, 16
  19. Guilherme Spinelli, 14
  20. Nelson Piquet Jr., 13
  21. Rhys Millen, 13
  22. Buddy Rice, 7
  23. Henning Solberg, 7
  24. Pat Moro, 6
  25. Mauricio Neves, 5
  26. Edu Marques, 3
  27. David Sterckx, 1

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 303
  2. Subaru, 125
  3. Dodge, 109

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish

GRC Personalities // Steve Arpin: My Season So Far

Looking back at this season, it’s been full of highs and lows for us. It’s definitely been a learning season—each and every time I’ve been on the race track, I’ve learned something new, which was essentially my goal for this season. This is an entirely new discipline of racing for me, with a new type of car, new type of racing surface, new type of track. I’ve never jumped a car, never had a car airborne before… or at least never intentionally had a car airborne before!

If I had to grade myself, I would probably go with a B+. There have definitely been some mistakes I’ve made as a driver that I’ve learned from and won’t happen again. But at the same time, we’ve done a lot of things right, and just been in the wrong spot at the wrong time, whether it be a wet race track or small mechanical problems.

In Brazil, we started real strong with the fourth place finish. I joke all the time that I would’ve gotten a podium, but I had a really quick flight after the race and I didn’t have time to do the podium ceremony! But I didn’t really back that up at any of the other X Games, so I kind of have to go away from that story.

From that point on, we kind of had a slump through the next couple of races. We did a lot of talking, a lot of research with the engineers and team guys, and really found out what we had to do to get things turned around. These last couple of races, it’s been really good. At Bristol, we were running second in the main and cut a right rear tire down—that was a bad luck deal. At Atlanta, we were really good. We had a strong two heat races, and we just unfortunately got put into the wall in the first corner of the main. It’s one of those deals, it’s just the way it goes.

The most important lesson I’ve learned this year has been learning how to feel the racecar. So many people have been so great with offering advice, help, and opinions, and don’t get me wrong, those opinions are valuable. But before you’re able to use any ounce of information that any of these other experienced drivers are telling you, you have to learn how to feel this type of car. When I quit trying to what everybody else was saying to do, and let everything start to come naturally to me and feel everything out, just trying to react to what the seat of my pants feels, it’s when stuff really started to turn around. I was able to start giving the proper feedback. Some of the stuff I was saying at the start of the year, I thought was proper, but as I get more comfortable with the car and figure out where I need it to be, we’ve figured out that we need to go in a different direction.

I’ve been learning a lot about the cars as well. I even helped rebuild Patrik Sandell’s engine in Atlanta. He’s a teammate, man! You gotta help him get out there!

I grew up building my own racecars. I grew up involved every step of the way, from when the car was a bunch of 20 foot lengths of pipe on the wall to when it was rolling down on the race track to take the green flag. So every time I have a chance to get my hands on a wrench or get my hands a little bit greasy, then definitely I’m going to jump on it.

When you get to the NASCAR world, and a driver grabs a wrench, everybody looks at you and they are scared sh*tless. They’re like, “what is a driver doing with a wrench?” I know how to use a tool! It’s alright! Now that I’m getting back into this, these guys are actually letting me work on the car. It’s fun, and I enjoy it!

It also helps you with the racing aspect. The more you understand what’s underneath you—like I said earlier, this is a whole new type of car to me. I’ve never driven an all-wheel drive car, and I’ve never driven a rally car. For me to be the best I can possibly be, I have to know exactly what’s underneath me and understand what’s going on with every component on the car. So every time I have the opportunity to work on it with the guys, it’s something that teaches me more and more about what’s going on as I go around the racetrack.

The biggest thing I need to work on is how to carry the amount of speed through a high speed corner. I watch Topi and look at the split times, and I go out there and think I’m doing it alright. My times are good everywhere except for this one little type of section at every racetrack. Obviously that’s going to be my main goal moving forward there, to try and conquer that.

But overall, if I had to say my first and foremost concern going through these last two races, it’s consistency. Once consistency comes, a lot fewer mistakes, doing more things right—like I said, we learned a lot of things every week all year, and now it’s just the time that we have to take all those things from the first seven races and combine all the things that we learned right. We learned a lot of things wrong, too, so we’ve got to throw those things out! But everything we learned right, we have to combine all that and put it together for these last two races.

We’ve got two races to really show what we’re capable of. We’ve learned a lot of things at each and every race throughout the season, and if we take all of those things and are able to put them together in one race, we’ll have a good, solid showing. That’s my goal to finish off the season—just trying to put everything together. We really need to perform to what we’re capable of these next two races.

Photo credit: Matthew Kalish (1, 4); QBA/QNIGAN.com (2); Alison Padron (3)

High-Octane Global Rallycross to Hit The Dirt Track at Charlotte in One Month

CONCORD, N.C. (August 22, 2013) – Motorsports and action sports will come together in one month for the Global Rallycross (GRC) series presented by Sylvania Silverstar ® zXe at The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Sunday, Sept. 22.

Fans new to rallycross racing will find a lot to enjoy at this high-octane event. The 600-horsepower, all-wheel drive, turbocharged compact cars go from 0 to 60 in less than two seconds as drivers steer through hairpin turns, across jumps, over walls and through a series of chicanes and water features designed to test the driver’s focus and control.

“Charlotte is definitely the hub of the NASCAR world. There are so many NASCAR fans around there. Basically what I’ve learned from Global Rallycross racing is any person, any fan, anyone who has any interest in motorsports will absolutely love this,” said Steve Arpin, driver of the No. 32 Ford Fiesta ST. “It’s a whole new thing. It’s wild; it’s crazy. These guys are all nuts and will put on an awesome show for you.”

With the event only a month away, the custom track design is coming together. The course is sure to excite fans as it takes the drivers through a water hazard, jumps and two different surfaces – dirt and pavement – at The Dirt Track at Charlotte. The joker lap, a shortcut that each driver must take once during the race, will take place in front of the stands, meaning that fans won’t miss a second of the action. Each event features qualifying, timed heats and a last chance race to set the lineup for a final winner-take-all feature race.

The question remains if this challenging course will allow other drivers to challenge Toomas Heikkinen, who has won five GRC races in a row. Heikkinen has a sizable points lead in the championship race over teammates Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan.

Heikkinen will also have the chance to sweep the Sylvania Silverstar ® zXe GRC mini-series. In this mini-series, drivers face off in a four-race points battle at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway and finally, Charlotte Motor Speedway. Heikkinen has already won three of the four races and is looking to continue his success and take home an extra $20,000.

However, all the stars of GRC are looking forward to the race at The Dirt Track at Charlotte and want to put on a good show at the track.

“I look forward to going to Charlotte because I think that the speedway has a lot of history there and good racing there,” said Deegan, driver of the No. 38 Ford Fiesta ST. “It’s about us going there and putting on a good show. We couldn’t be more in the middle of the race industry. I think it’s going to help the sport a lot.”

Aside from Deegan, Heikkenen and Arpin, other stars of GRC who will take to the dirt and try their luck on the strenuous course include Travis Pastrana, Foust, Ken Block and Scott Speed.

Reserved seats for adults are just $25. Children 13 and under are admitted for $10. Each ticket is a paddock pass, allowing access to see the teams and drivers work on the cars before the green flag drops. The drivers will also participate in a post-race autograph session on event day.

For those who can’t make it to The Dirt Track at Charlotte on Sept. 22, the special event, GRC’s eighth race of the 2013 season, will be televised live on ABC.

To purchase tickets, call the Charlotte Motor Speedway ticket office at 1-800-455-FANS (3267) or visit www.charlottemotorspeedway.com. To stay up to date with everything going on at the Greatest Place to See the Race, log on to www.charlottemotorspeedway.com or connect with Charlotte Motor Speedway on Twitter at www.twitter.com/CLTMotorSpdwy or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/charlottemotorspeedway.com.

Global Rallycross Drivers Visit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta

GRC TV: Drivers Visit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta

Global Rallycross drivers Tanner Foust and Steve Arpin visited Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta to hang out with some deserving children on the day before their race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. From doing a radio appearance to playing with the kids, Foust and Arpin brought happiness to all before strapping back into their 600 horsepower machines.

Global Rallycross Mid-Season Review: OMSE2

OMSE2 is an offshoot of the successful OlsbergsMSE operation, campaigning the same older-model Ford Fiestas that took four of six Global Rallycross victories last year. And while drivers Steve Arpin and Scott Speed aren’t racing in the same equipment as drivers like Tanner Foust and Brian Deegan, they haven’t been pushovers either.

Arpin and Speed rank seventh and eighth in points, respectively—not bad for two drivers who had never set foot in a rallycross car until just months ago.

The highlight of the season so far came in the opening race at X Games Foz do Iguacu, when Speed, in his first-ever rallycross event, took GRC’s “Star Car” to victory over two of the newer OMSE Fords. Arpin finished fourth, capping off a strong debut for both drivers.

Since then, things have returned to earth a little bit; each driver has missed two finals, while Speed had to advance to the main event in the first X Games Munich race and at New Hampshire by virtue of the last chance qualifier. An issue with the engine plagued Arpin at New Hampshire, while Speed’s Bristol run ended in frustration after contact in the second heat and further issues in the last chance qualifier.

Still, neither driver should be hanging their head going into X Games Los Angeles. There, Speed’s car will be run in conjunction with DRR-SH Racing, two IndyCar teams making their first foray into Global Rallycross, while Arpin will look to kick off the second half of the season with his first podium.

GRC Race Preview: Bristol Motor Speedway

IN BRIEF: Bristol Motor Speedway hosts the second American-based round of the Global Rallycross schedule, making its debut as part of the nine-race series.

TUNE IN INFORMATION:

ENTRY LIST: Click here for the full entry list.

LAST RACE: For the second race in a row, Toomas Heikkinen crossed the finish line first, inheriting the victory after Tanner Foust spun in the very final corner. OlsbergsMSE teammates Patrik Sandell and Brian Deegan would complete the podium, while Foust and Ken Block would complete a Ford sweep of the top five.

DRIVER CHANGES: Timur Timerzyanov, last year’s European champion, will return to the #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart in place of Travis Pastrana. Timerzyanov made two starts earlier in the season, finishing 10th and 11th in the X Games Munich doubleheader. After missing New Hampshire, Liam Doran will also return to the series with his MINI.

THE TRACK: Bristol will feature many of the same features at all Global Rallycross tracks, including an even mix of dirt and paved surface (in this case, concrete) and the signature tabletop jump. Part of the layout will go through the infield of the oval track.

BACK-TO-BACK ATTACK: By taking the victory at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Toomas Heikkinen scored the fifth pair of back-to-back wins in Global Rallycross history, and the first since Tanner Foust did so at the end of last year. All in all, three drivers have scored two consecutive victories in Global Rallycross competition:

DASH FOR THE CASH: Bristol represents the second race of the Sylvania SilverStar zXe Cup, which awards a $20,000 cash bonus to the driver to score the most points in four selected events. The first event took place at New Hampshire, while the others will be held at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 10 and Charlotte Motor Speedway on September 22. By virtue of winning at New Hampshire, Toomas Heikkinen holds the initial points lead.

QUOTES: A selection of quotes in advance of Saturday’s Global Rallycross event at Bristol Motor Speedway:

Toomas Heikkinen, Driver, #57 OlsbergsMSE Ford Fiesta ST: It’s going to be an exciting race for everyone, I think. It’s cool to be here, and we have a nice track. It’s going to be maybe the fastest track, and we have the banks. It’s race by race—I just concentrate like every race. After the last race, I didn’t want to take any pressure—just do my job and my Ford Fiesta is flying right now. It’s on fire, I’m so happy.

Steve Arpin, Driver, #32 OMSE2 Ford Fiesta: As far as racetracks across the country go, Bristol is like my fantasy. I’ve always wanted to drive here—it’s been my goal with stock car stuff, but I’ve never had the opportunity with the programs that we had. Never in a million years would I have imagined that the first time I went around the high banks of Bristol would be in a Ford Fiesta rally car! The word on the stock car side is, “It’s Bristol.” All you have to say is “It’s Bristol, it’s awesome.” And whether you’re in a stock car, a truck, or a rally car, it’s going to be awesome.

Timur Timerzyanov, Driver, #199 Pastrana Racing Dodge Dart: I was really surprised to go on the track. It’s like a stadium. “The Last Coliseum” is fantastic. I’ve never seen something like this. It has 130,000 people, and it’s really, really nice. I tried to go up on the (banking) and it’s not possible, every time I want to go down. I think that this track will be very nice for us.

DRIVER POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 76
  2. Tanner Foust, 51
  3. Brian Deegan, 47
  4. Patrik Sandell, 46
  5. Liam Doran, 43

SYLVANIA SILVERSTAR ZXE CUP POINTS:

  1. Toomas Heikkinen, 21
  2. Patrik Sandell, 17
  3. Brian Deegan, 15
  4. Tanner Foust, 14
  5. Ken Block, 13

MANUFACTURER POINTS:

  1. Ford, 147
  2. Dodge, 43
  3. Subaru, 41

GRC Personalities // Steve Arpin: My Racing Heroes

There’s a few people who I have nothing but the utmost respect for, people who I admire what they’ve accomplished in the racing world. The first one is definitely my father, though. He was such an inspiration to me—he taught me how far hard work goes, how far it can take you. He taught me all about how far going through everything and not leaving anything to chance will get you.

If not for what he taught me, there’s no chance that I would be where I’m at today in my racing career. I wouldn’t have been able to experience what I’ve been able to experience. My dad is definitely my racing hero.

Currently in the racing world, there are two people that I respect, and they’re kind of for different reasons. First and foremost, Carl Edwards has been an absolute godsend to me, as a friend, in life experiences and everything. He’s motivated me so much. The way Carl did it, the way Carl came up to where he’s at today, his background, is exactly the same as mine. He didn’t come from a whole bunch of money, he didn’t buy his way in, he didn’t do any of that—he worked his butt off and earned his way in. And for someone like me, it was just so much motivation that someone coming from where he came from achieved so much success.

I admire him for what he’s achieved, and how he’s been able to maintain who he is as a person and not forget where he came from through all of his success. It would be so easy for him to let everything he’s achieved go to his head, but he’s just a cool guy. The guy you see on TV, the guy you see on the Subway commercials, the guy you see in interviews at the race track, is the exact same guy you get when you’re shooting the breeze. I have so much respect for him for that.

Image via Arpin collection

He’s opened so many doors for me. He’s the type of guy that will help you, but he also wants to see you work for it too, which is really cool. He opened a lot of doors for me, and said “alright, here’s opportunity. Now you have to make it happen.” And I respect that. It’s a neat way to do things, rather than have someone in his position hand it to you.

In North Carolina, when I got the opportunity to go ARCA racing in 2009, I was essentially this kid that had a tiny little apartment built into a race shop in Minnesota. In the winter, when I woke up in the morning to turn the heat on in the shop, we had to shovel the snow from inside that blew in through the walls and the floor and haul it out in the morning. I had to establish myself down here, find a place to live, and it was like “what do I do?” And Carl was so good—he gave me a place to stay for a few months, so I was able to get on my own two feet. All the time in North Carolina before it happened, just trying to network and get my face in front of the right people, he always gave me a place to stay and a vehicle to drive.

He opened up so many doors for me and introduced me to so many people. To this day, we’ve turned out to be really good friends. And I respect him for who he is as a person, what he’s been able to achieve, and the person he’s remained. It’s truly an incredible story. The Carl Edwards story is truly an incredible story. If they made a movie about Carl Edwards and the life he’s lived, how he’s been able to get from where he started to where he’s at, it’d be a bigger hit than Days of Thunder! That’s something I would put on repeat on my TV. It’d be so inspirational and cool to watch. If I don’t make it in racing, I might try to make it into the movie business and try to make that movie! That’d be a career-maker right there!

Image via Arpin collection

As far as the other person I have the utmost respect for, it’s Dale Earnhardt Jr. That’s one of the doors Carl opened for me, at JR Motorsports, and he essentially said “go up and do your thing.” Dale Earnhardt Jr. took this no-name kid from Canada racing in ARCA, put me in the spotlight, and although it wasn’t a long-lasting opportunity or a full-time deal, he took a chance on me and made my mark in the sport. He made my name a known name within the NASCAR world. He owed me nothing.

To this day I have nothing but praise for that man for believing in me. And as much as the sport has turned into something so based on financial situations, how much you can bring to the table, how much you can pay bills, Dale Earnhardt Jr. took me and said “I don’t want you to worry about money. I just want you to go do your thing.” He believed in me, he believed in talent more so than what the rest of the sport turned into on the financial side of things. And that is so cool for a guy like him to just believe in people and still try and help make careers.