Daytona Beach News-Journal
Steve Arpin added another link to car owner Chip Ganassi's golden Daytona chain by winning the Red Bull Global Rallycross Supercar final in wet conditions at Daytona International Speedway Saturday evening.
Ganassi, who has captured the Daytona 500 once and Rolex 24 At Daytona several times, was in France for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but congratulated Arpin over Twitter by simply saying, “My man!”
Brian Deegan, Arpin's teammate at Ganassi Racing, made it a clean sweep for the boss by claiming second-place honors. Both drive Fords.
Sebastian Eriksson rounded out the podium in his No. 93 Honda.
The Global Rallycross has another complete round of action scheduled Sunday. The gates open at 6 a.m. and racing action starts at 7:15 a.m. with Lites practice. Sunday's Supercar final goes off at 3:30 p.m.
Arpin was full of electricity after scoring the win for the Ganassi camp.
“If I could take a step back 10 years and ask myself, 'Where would you like to win in the highest level of professional motorsports?' It would be Daytona. Just to race here is an accomplishment.
“To couple the iconic Speedway with an iconic car owner, who has all those wins here; for me to add to that legacy is breathtaking. There's no better way to get my first series victory.”
Arpin got that win thanks in part to some wild action in the last two laps.
Race leader Tanner Foust, driving the No. 34 Volkswagen, spun in the dirt after going over the jump on the penultimate lap.
Second-place driver Patrik Sandell then whacked Foust with his No. 18 Ford.
On top of that, Scott Speed's No. 41 VW, which was running third, caught fire under the hood near the right-front tire. He had to bail out of the car on the last lap.
“Every time I'm really fast, something crazy happens,” Arpin said. “On the first lap, I felt like a ping-pong ball and it took me a few laps to gather myself up.
“At one point (in the 10-lap final), I was sixth, and started picking cars off, and I think karma kicked in for me. We were living right today.”
Deegan, who drives Ganassi's No. 38 machine, worked his way through the carnage for second-place honors. Deegan raced Supercross at Daytona in the 1990s.
“In Rallycar, you take what you can get,” Deegan said. “You battle. Cars break. Cars crash. The rain was the great equalizer. The mud caused the guys up front to make some mistakes.
“We were able to capitalize and go one-two for Ganassi Racing. That was awesome. That's a fairytale-like ending.”
Sweden's Oliver Eriksson captured the GRC Lites final followed by Tanner Whitten and Colin Braun, who has Daytona's track record for fastest lap ever around Daytona's 2.5-mile tri-oval in a prototype a few years ago.
“Being here, this is just such an iconic place, is wonderful,” Eriksson said. “Being on the top step of the podium is just amazing to me.”