‘The Bachelor’: Arie Luyendyk Jr. drops out; Sean Lowe now the favorite?

It looks as though the race is over for Arie Luyendyk Jr. — at least when it comes to him becoming the next star of “The Bachelor.” In a statement released late Friday in conjunction with XYQ, the recent contestant on “The Bachelorette” confirmed that he will be dropping out of contention for this coming season of the ABC show in order to focus on his racing career — which dominated his time long before he met Emily Maynard.

“‘The Bachelorette’ was an amazing experience but I will not continue with ‘The Bachelor’; ultimately I realized my heart is tied to the race track and my career is my main priority. I’m looking forward to getting back on the track … I have built a great relationship with XYQ this season and am looking forward to working closely with them to achieve my goals.”

Over the past several months, Arie has been one of the clear favorites to become the new leading man after America watched him come so close to winning Emily’s heart — even to the point of trying to get her to change her mind after accepting a proposal from Jef Holm. With him out of the running, the focus now shifts to two other men from seasons past — Sean Lowe and Roberto Martinez. Ironically, both have a background in insurance — and this decision could all depend on who the producers feel could bring something new to the franchise. Personally, we were rooting for Arie mostly because his story would make things a little more exciting — but it’s hard to fault the man for sticking to what he knows and loves. Yes, the name Ryan Lochte has been bandied about and the show has probably even placed a few phone calls — but some of the swimmer’s recent partying in Las Vegas do not completely line up with the sort of image that the show usually looks for.

Are you bummed to see Arie out of the running, or do you think this is best given how much these contestants are put through the tabloid ringer? Be sure to share your thoughts below, and you can check out some more news on Arie by heading over to this link.

Photo: ABC

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