Arie Luyendyk Jr. will join Team UFD in 2017, partnering with Bill Hynes and Paul Morris. He will drive the #25 United Fiber & Data Stadium Super Truck starting in St. Petersburg. The announcement was made via Twitter on Tuesday morning. “It’s official! Happy to announce I’ll be joining @thethrill57 and @pmdude67 this year in @SSuperTrucks,” Luyendyk tweeted.
Luyendyk competed in nine races in 2016 starting at Detroit, where he drove the #25 Quicken Loans truck before switching to the #30 for Royal Purple Synthetic Oil at Townsville. He continued to bounce between teams during the year, driving the #20 SPEED Energy truck at Charlotte and the #30 again at the Sand Sports Super Show. He recorded a best finish of 2nd at Detroit and Charlotte, two of three podium finishes in 2016. Luyendyk ended the season with a sixth-place points finish.
In 2016, Team UFD fielded three trucks for Hynes (#57), Morris (#67) and a rotating #78/83/98 truck. Hynes, who founded fiber network and broadband solutions company United Fiber & Data, ran the full 2016 season and finished fifth in points. Former V8 Supercar driver Morris joined the team in St. Petersburg and ran every race minus Toronto, finishing ahead of Hynes in the standings with a fourth-place position and four podium finishes.
The third truck was originally the #83 driven by Matt Brabham until Detroit, when E.J. Viso took over while Brabham drove the #7 Arctic Cat truck. During his seven-race stint with UFD, Brabham experienced the most success of the three, finishing on the podium four times. Viso finished 8th and 2nd at Detroit. UFD did not follow any of the four to Townsville, but returned in Toronto with Hynes, Morris and a #98 truck for series veteran P.J. Jones. Sara Price, the first female driver in SST history, began driving for Team UFD in the #78 truck at Charlotte; her best finish is 4th in her UFD debut.
Luyendyk, a former contestant on The Bachelorette and the son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, competed in Indy Lights for seven seasons from 2002 to 2008 and 2010. Although he recorded only one win (2008 at Chicagoland), he finished 2nd in points in 2002 and 3rd in 2004. Luyendyk also attempted the 2005 and 2006 Indianapolis 500s, failing to qualify for the former and finishing 28th in the latter. He started off-road racing in 2013 when he debuted in SST, running seven races, winning a heat race and finishing seventh in points before racing in TORC.
The 2017 SST season kicks off in Adelaide from March 3–5. Practice will be on Friday, while racing takes place on Saturday and Sunday. Luyendyk’s first race weekend in St. Petersburg will be from March 10–12.
Featured image courtesy of Mark J. Rebilas, USA Today