It’s no secret that young NASCAR driver Ryan Vargas is always selling the most important thing he has, himself. The California native has never grabbed the attention of the bigger teams so to live his dream and race in NASACR he must take a seat just about anywhere he can. That’s meant for the last two years running in NASCAR’s Xfinity series with JD Motorsports a small team that lacks the big dollar sponsorships that mean speed on the track.
During that time Vargas has kept the car on track by selling sponsorships, mostly all by himself. It’s a skill he has acquired since he began racing at the age of 12. He gained the attention of the NASCAR world in 2020 when he signed social media giant TikTok, first to a three-race deal, then to six additional races.
Vargas has signed another deal with a social media brand for Talladega. This time it’s the Reddit community, a collection of communities that share news, discussions, and other interactive content. For 13 years the r/NASCAR subreddit has brought together more than 850,000 race fans who share their passion for the sport, teams, and drivers. And for the upcoming Talladega Xfinity race, the No. 6 JD Motorsports car will be clad in a Reddit inspired paint scheme with the names of several hundred thousand of the community’s users.
“There’s a lot of people getting behind this,” Vargas said. “I’m super excited to run the paint scheme. It’s pretty neat to kind of “wear” another social media brand on the race car.
“Many people can remember our TikTok scheme and through r/NASCAR, we’ve been able to bring the red colors to the racetrack.”
Being in his early 20s Vargas is a prolific social media user. It should come as no surprise that he was able to sign the deal with another of the largest social media companies. Vargas said the deal came together after a lot of conversations and meetings
“(And) the support of a lot of really, really awesome people.”
This weekend, Vargas will be celebrating his 23rd birthday. But he won’t be at Texas Motor Speedway for the Xfinity race. After the Talladega race the following week, there will be five races left in the 2022 Xfinity season. Sadly, Vargas will be in the JD Motorsports car for just three of those races. The team announced a week ago that another driver, who also brings sponsorship, will race at Texas, Homestead, and Phoenix.
If Vargas is disappointed, he’s good at hiding it. He said it’s all part of the continuous learning process for him.
“I hate learning this way,” he said chuckling, then turning serious. “But you know, at the end of the day, this sport is a business and a business first… I guess you could say that’s how the cookie crumbles and it’s part of how it goes.
“Sometimes you have to put your own feelings aside and understand these things and I’ve understood it since the beginning. I understand that there’s lights to keep on, employees to pay. And I’m always gonna get that.”
Vargas is setting his sights on Talladega and a good run with the r/NASCAR Reddit sponsored Chevy and those races he will be at the rest of the season.
“I’m just looking forward to finishing these last few races,” he said. “Looking to put that 6 car up towards the front and capitalizing on these opportunities that I do have.”
For those races he won’t be racing in, he will still be working alongside the team, in the shop and at the track.
“You know, it hasn’t been the easiest year,” Vargas said. “But it feels good to have a couple races coming up where, although those races aren’t announced what those sponsorships are, you know, we have a lot of really, really cool programs coming up and all setting up for fantastic, 2023. “