The reality star’s father, Arie Luyendyk, is a Dutch former auto racing driver with two Indianapolis 500 wins under his belt.
The senior Luyendyk grew up in the Netherlands, where his father owned a garage, according to the New Netherland Institute. As a result, he got behind the wheel of race cars as a teenager and quickly made a name for himself in Europe, winning the Dutch Formula Ford champion in 1973 and becoming the European Formula Ford champion two years later.
Luyendyk moved to the more competitive Super Vee series in 1977, becoming the European Super Vee champion the same year.
The racer, known as the Flying Dutchman and noteworthy in his prime for his handsome looks and flowing brown hair, began racing in the United States in the early ’80s — and won the Super Vee championship in 1984. He also made his Indy Car debut and placed eighth in his first race.
In 1985, Luyendyk competed in his first Indianapolis 500, finishing seventh and claiming the “Rookie of the Year” award, according to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Luyendyk joined Doug Shierson Racing in 1990, driving the unique Domino’s Pizza-adorned Lola-Cosworth car. He won the Indianapolis 500 the same year with a dominating performance. It took Luyendyk just 2 hours, 41 minutes and 18.404 seconds to complete the race, with an average speed setting a record for the Indy 500.
“After I won the race in 1990, it definitely became a huge part of my life,” Luyendyk told the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. “Obviously the Speedway always wants you around to do certain things and the fans recognize you no matter what you have done outside of the Indy 500. But they always mainly recognize you for winning that race.”
Luyendyk got his second win at the legendary race in 1997.
He drove in four additional 500s from 1998 to 2002, with his best result at 13th place.
“Indianapolis has been nothing but positive for me, I have to say,” Luyendyk said. “I have pride in being able to be a guy who was able to win races but also go fast in qualifying, and in that regard, be versatile. I know a lot of guys who were really good racers at Indy, but they didn’t care for qualifying. They didn’t want to hang it out, they didn’t want to run low downforce. I always enjoyed putting together that one phenomenal lap.”
Luyendyk Jr., who first competed on Emily Maynard‘s season of The Bachelorette in 2012, followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a racer who competed in the Firestone Indy Lights (he has one victory and finished second in the Firestone Indy Lights Championship in 2002) and was a rookie driver in the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motorsport for the 2007-08 A1 Grand Prix season. He has also worked as an analyst and commentator off the track.
On Good Morning America, Luyendyk Jr. admitted that his family wasn’t aware that he’d be returning on The Bachelor.
“Well, [they’re] finding out right now!” he said with a laugh. “Hey Dad, Mom.”
“I kind of kept things really under wraps because I didn’t know how this would turn out,” he explained. “It’s been such a quick turn of events, and my family doesn’t know, so now they know. They know along with you guys!”
Luyendyk Jr.’s season of The Bachelor premieres next year.