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Ryan Arciero making SST debut at Long Beach

Ryan Arciero hails from a legendary off-road racing family and was mentored by the late Bob Gordon. On 8–10 April, Arciero will race against “Baja” Bob’s son Robby in the younger Gordon’s Stadium Super Trucks, making his series début at the season-opening Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach.

Arciero is a third-generation off-road driver whose father Frank “Butch” Arciero Jr. was inducted into the Off-Road Motorsports Hall of Fame in 2019 alongside Gordon while uncle Albert has run off-road and sports cars. He has competed in various desert championships like Best In The Desert and SCORE International. In SCORE, he has four victories in the Trophy Truck class at the 2003 Baja 500, the 2003 and 2004 Baja 1000s, and the inaugural Baja 400 in 2019; the 2003 and 2004 wins came as a co-driver with Mark Miller. Arciero also has eight NORRA Mexican 1000 wins alongside his father and the Gordons, and he will once again team up with Robby and his son Max Gordon for the 2022 race in late April.

Two weeks ago, Arciero competed in the Mint 400, a prestigious desert event in Nevada where victory has eluded him multiple times: he was in the home stretch of the 2020 edition before a flat tyre doomed him, while he finished second to 2013 SST runner-up Rob MacCachren in 2021. Arciero dominated the first half of the 2022 race only for his truck to lose power on the dry lakebed, eliminating him from contention yet again.

Despite his off-road-heavy background and Long Beach being a street circuit, Arciero is far from being a stranger to pavement racing. In 2005, he participated in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race at Long Beach and finished second to Rhys Millen. From its inaugural season in 2008 to the demise in 2011, Arciero was a driving instructor for the single-make Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup. As a Volkswagen factory driver, he helped the manufacturer contest the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb in 2006/2007 and develop the VW Baja Touareg programme for the 2008 Baja 1000.

At the turn of the millennium, he did pavement oval racing in the Ultra Wheels Super Truck Series, which included a six-win campaign in 2003. That year and the next saw Arciero race thrice in the now defunct NASCAR Southwest Series at tracks located in his native California. While he did not pursue a NASCAR career further, his Baja 400 victory came with an engine built by Cup Series team Joe Gibbs Racing.

Credit: Ryan Arciero

To prepare for Long Beach, Arciero spent Thursday testing a stadium truck at SST headquarters. He will drive the #32 with sponsorship from Draganfly, both of which carry over from his trophy truck. Draganfly, a drone manufacturer, joined Arciero in 2021 and the combo enjoyed an overall victory at Best In The Desert’s Vegas to Reno later in the year.

“What a fun day today here in North Carolina at @stadiumsupertrucks,” Arciero posted on Instagram. “Thank you @robbygordon and @madmaxgordon for the rest today. So much fun to drive. Excited for #longbeachgrandprix in a couple weeks! Truck looks on point!”

A full grid for Long Beach will be revealed as race weekend approaches.

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