Arie Luyendyk Jr made his off-road debut in 2013 driving select races in Stadium Super Trucks and the TORC Series. A veteran of Indy Lites and the Indy 500, and widely known for his reality tv career on shows such as The Bachelorette, The Bachelor, and Hell’s Kitchen, he is looking forward to competing full time in 2014 in the TORC Series in Pro-2. These are some follow up questions after his interview with Jim Beaver on the Down & Dirty Radio Show found here: http://www.downanddirtyshow.com/the-down-dirty-radio-show-w-arie-jr/.
A first in our ’11 Questions’ series, we’ve added a few more to the mix after his wild ride at the opening round of The Off-Road Championship (TORC) in PRIMM, NV.
By: Jim Beaver
1) How was your first season in off-road in 2013 in SST and Torc?
To say I fell in love with off-road racing is an understatement! I’m so happy that we came back this year with a great group of partners to be able to run the entire TORC season!
2) What were the differences in driving the Stadium Super Truck and a Torc Pro-2?
I think the biggest difference is the size of the two trucks. The Pro-2 is a lot larger and the Stadium Super Truck is a lot narrower, making it a lot more difficult drive. I definitely have a blast driving both, but I will say that Robby builds some extreme courses which make the Stadium Super Truck series pretty awesome!
3) Was there anything from your Indy Car career that transitioned well to off-road?
They’re definitely two different animals, but I will say that the basic techniques always apply. In racing, I really feel if you’re a good driver you can drive anything. That’s definitely why I look up to drivers like Tony Stewart, Juan Montoya and of course Robby Gordon.
4) Speaking of Indy Car, is there any chance we see you back in one for the Indy 500 or maybe select events in 2014.
I wouldn’t count it out just yet. There’s always a chance. The test went really well in November and there’s some interest from teams. Budget is always the main obstacle with IndyCar
5) Tell us about the Pro-2 plans for 2014?
GUNK, Cooper Tires, and Genius Tools have come on board to support me for the entire 2014 TORC season in Pro-2!
6) We just got back from the opening rounds of The Off-Road Championship (TORC). You went for a pretty wild ride on Saturday and had to be cut out of your truck and rushed to the hospital. Had you ever wrecked that bad? Did you sustain any major injuries?
I have to say I was just disappointed for all my sponsors, friends and family that came out. We were in podium contention and it’s just a shame to not finish. The crash was pretty violent. I ended up ripping the steering wheel off, it sheared at the steering column. At that point, I couldn’t hold on and I ended up breaking my clavicle. Ironically, I’ve never been seriously injured in all the IndyCar and Indy Lights races I’ve been in, so I’ve been very lucky up to this point. I am very thankful the TORC safety crew got to me so quickly.
7) It’s pretty badass you were back at the track on Sunday. What made you go back? We heard you helped with the live broadcast?
I hated the fact I couldn’t compete on Sunday, but I felt the need to be there and show everyone I was in good spirits. Doing the broadcast was fun but at the same time it was hard to swallow because I wanted to be able to drive. It was very reassuring to talk to my sponsors on Sunday, out at the track. Just to know that they stand by me 100% and are waiting for my recovery puts my mind at ease. I have great partners in GUNK, Cooper Tires and Genius Tools!
8) Is there anything else you’d like your team and fans to know?
I’ll be back before you know it. Surgery tomorrow, then intensive rehab to get back in the truck!
9) How does owning your truck this season makes things different for you as a competitor instead of just showing up and driving?
I think first off, there’s just a lot more to think about. Day-to-day, making sure we have all the spare parts, all the tires, all the wheels, all the engine components, all the things that we need to run really make it. It’s a larger task than just showing up and driving. The guys in the shop have worked super hard to make this truck as competitive as possible to give me the best chance of winning. There’s a lot to learn regarding the series and what will make our team competitive but we have hired really great people and I have great partners so it’s making this very fulfilling.
10) What is your best Crandon story from last year?
I have to say missing tech, then starting last and having to work my way up through the field, ending up flipping over completely, back on the four tires and finishing fourth! That was definitely the most entertaining race of last year.
11) How has your fan following from television helped your racing career?
I think it’s just made people more aware of who I am and it’s great because so many fans from the show are tuning in and watching the races! And honestly, I really have to thank them because last year through crowdfunding I was able to do my first race in the Stadium Super Truck series and that’s what started this whole world into off-road racing! Thanks #TeamArie.
12) Where do you see yourself as a race car driver in 5 years?
Hopefully with a lot more trophies in the trophy room and continued success in off-road! And obviously, the big elephant in the room… the Indy 500. I need to get back there and hopefully in five years time I’ll have a couple more starts under my belt.
13) Any chance we see your dad (Indy Car Legend and 2 Time Indy 500 Winner Arie Luyendyk Sr.) in an off-road truck either testing or racing at some point?
Funny you ask that! I actually wanted my dad to come to my first test in Primm to take some laps, but unfortunately I don’t think we’ll see him an off-road truck anytime soon. The Flying Dutchman doesn’t feel comfortable leaving the ground! haha
14) Anyone you want to thank?
Our great partners: GUNK, the market leader in engine care for 55 years, Cooper Tires, Genius Tools, OMP and Bell Helmets! And my director of PR Kerrie, for all of her hard work!