Who is Arie Luyendyk Jr., ABC’s surprise choice for the next star of “The Bachelor?”

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Who is Arie Luyendyk Jr., ABC’s surprise choice for the next star of “The Bachelor?”

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Hello again.

They teased it for days, and when they finally made the announcement Thursday morning, ABC made good on the surprise factor.

The next star of “The Bachelor” will be Arie Luyendyk Jr.

Who?

If you have to ask that, you’re not a dedicated resident of “Bachelor”-land. If you were, you’d know that Luyendyk Jr. was runnerup on Season 8 of “The Bachelorette.”

That was way back in 2012, which is like a century ago in Bachelor/Bachelorette years. So Luyendyk Jr.’s return to top-billed status on Season 22 of “The Bachelor” when it debuts next January is a definite sit-up-and-take-notice moment.

Here’s some early info on the man who’ll be handing out the roses.

     He’s a chip off the old (Dutch) block: The son of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk Sr., the younger Arie was born in the Netherlands. He emigrated here with his family when he was three years old.

   He’s feeling his age. Already age 35, Luyendyk Jr. says he’s going into this ready to find a bride: "I'll be 36 in a few weeks, so for me, it's time,” he said on “Good Morning America” Thursday morning. “All my friends around me have kids and have grown up. feel like I'm the last one of my friends to really take that last step." 

   He’s fast: The new bachelor followed in his dad’s tire tracks, taking up race car driving himself. He even competed in the race that made the elder Arie famous, finishing 28th in the 2006 Indy 500. Additionally,  People magazine reports that he competed as a rookie driver during the 2007-08 A1 Grand Prix season and earlier chalked up first and second place finishes on the Firestone Indy Lights circuit. He now works as a real-estate broker in Arizona.

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    He’s spent time in the South: If you think you saw Arie Jr. in Tennessee back in 2012, you were’t crazy. During Week 3 of “The Bachlorette,” he whisked Emily Maynard off to Pigeon Forge by private plane. There, the cuddling couple toured the park, met Dolly Parton in the flesh and danced to a song that Dolly herself had written for them. 

  He’s clearly got a thing for Bachelorettes: Despite coming oh-so-heartbreakingly-close to winning Maynard’s hand that season, ” Luyendyk didn’t exactly go into  romantic hibernation afterwards. Later in 2012, he started dating Courtney Robertson -- who’d only recently broken up with Ben Flajnik, who’d wooed and won her on Season 16 of “The Bachelor.” Confused? Robertson and Luyendyk discuss that relationship first-hand here.  But wait, there’s more! The following year, Luyendyk Jr. dated Season 17 “Bachelor” contestant Selma Alameri, according to E! Online.

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