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Ryan Arciero hopes to continue family dynasty


 by Mark Cipolloni
April 23, 2001

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Ryan Arciero

With a family history deeply entrenched in the racing world, there was never any question as to what Ryan Arciero, son of Frank Arciero Jr., would eventually choose for a career.  Ryan is the third generation of Arciero's to race.  His father did it.  His grandfather did it.

We had the opportunity to meet Ryan for the first time at Long Beach two weeks ago.  We immediately found him to be intelligent, motivated and extremely well spoken.  Ryan is 27 years old, and perhaps it's just coincidental that he studied Engineering in school like Mark Donahue and cut his teeth in racing doing off-road racing like Rick Mears.  He didn't just study engineering, he also was schooled in marketing, mechanics and business, all the tools necessary in today's highly competitive world of auto racing, where driving a car fast isn't the only tools needed in a drivers toolbox.

Ryan is continuing a long legacy of Arciero Racing activities that date back to the mid-1950's.  Founded by Italian immigrants Frank Arciero (Ryan's grandfather) and his brother Phil, Arciero racing became a constant in the sport and has launched and promoted the careers of drivers like Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Jim Clark, Bobby and Al Unser, Roger Penske, Phil Hill, Michael Andretti, Robby Gordon, Didier Theys, Scott Pruett, Geoff Brabham, Fabrizio Barbazza and Max Papis.  In fact, Bobby Unser became an Arciero driver at age 23, and his younger brother Al moved into racing with the Arciero team, going straight to the Indy 500 in 1965.

Not only did they field race cars for some pretty successful drivers, they won a fair share of races doing the driving themselves, mostly in off-road racing.

In recent years Ryan has won the Baja 1000, Nevada 2000, other off-road races, and 5 out of 8 Russell/USAC Championship Series races.  In the last four years he has either won, finished second, or third 17 times.  His next step is to run three Toyota Atlantic races in 2001 followed by a full season in 2002.  That of course, is contingent on putting together the right sponsorship package.

Like Memo Gidley and Alex Barron, two other good American drivers, Ryan needs that break from a sponsor to eventually get a full-time ride in Champ Cars.  It's not easy today, but it's time American companies start taking a good hard look at some the the talented American drivers.  They need the chance to prove themselves, and CART needs more American drivers.

We had the chance to talk to Ryan about his goals, and why he thinks off-road racing is a good foundation to eventually become a Champ Car driver. Interview (7:48 min.) Real Player Format

The author can be contacted at markc@autoracing1.com

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