IndyCar driver Arie Luyendyk Jr. in Grand Rapids

Arie Luyendyk Jr.
Arie Luyendyk Jr., of the Netherlands, sits on pit wall after dropping out of auto race during the 90th running of the Indianapolis 500 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 28, 2006, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Doug McSchooler)


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Arie Luyendyk Jr. has a long history of racing, but Thursday marked his first drive into Grand Rapids.

The former IndyCar driver and contestant on “The Bachelorette”  is visiting West Michigan ahead of the Detroit Grand Prix, which he will be competing in. He will be at the Grand Rapids Meijer at 1997 E. Beltline NE at 10:30 a.m. Thursday to meet fans.

Luyendyk has given up his smaller race car for a Stadium SUPER Truck.

“Just imagine a 4,000 pound race truck racing on the same track as the IndyCars do, but with metal ramps. So we hit those ramps and we go 150 feet to 250 feet in the air and it’s an all-out brawl for about 10 to 12 laps. I would say it’s more of a show than a race, but it’s definitely exciting for the fans,” he told 24 Hour News 8 Thursday.

The Detroit Grand Prix will take place June 2-4 at the Raceway at Belle Isle Park. The SPEED Energy Stadium SUPER Trucks series will take place Saturday and Sunday, according to Luyendyk.

“The kids especially love our race trucks. The great part is that our paddock is situated in the fan village so everyone can come check out the race trucks, meet the drivers and it makes it really unique for the fans because they have such great access to us,” he said.

Luyendyk said he took second place during last year’s race. This year, he’s hoping to impress his new partner, the Michigan-based Lear Corporation, with an even better finish.

“We’re going to do them proud and hopefully win it.”

Tickets to the Detroit Grand Prix were still available on the event website Thursday.