It’s no secret that Ryan Vargas, a young NASCAR driver, always sells his most important thing, himself. The California native has never caught the attention of the bigger teams, so in order to live out his dream and race in NASACR, he needs to take a seat anywhere he can. That means for the past two years in a row in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series with a small JD Motorsports team lacking the sponsorship of the big bucks that means speed on the track.
During that time, Vargas has kept the car on track by selling sponsorship contracts, all by himself. I’ve acquired this skill since he started racing at the age of twelve. He caught the attention of the NASCAR world in 2020 when he signed social media giant TikTok, first for a three-race deal, and then for an additional six races.
Vargas signed another deal with a social media brand for Talladega. This time it’s the Reddit community, which is a collection of communities that share news, discussions, and other interactive content. For 13 years, the r/NASCAR subreddit has brought together over 850,000 racing fans who share their passion for the sport, teams and drivers. And for the upcoming Talladega Xfinity race, the #6 GD Motorsports car will be covered in Reddit-inspired paint with the names of hundreds of thousands of community users.
“There are a lot of people behind this,” Vargas said. “I’m really excited to run the paint scheme. It’s great that you’re ‘wearing’ another social media brand on the race car.
“Many people can remember our TikTok chart and through r/NASCAR we were able to bring the reds to the racetrack.”
Being in his early twenties, Vargas is a prolific user of social media. It should come as no surprise that he managed to sign the deal with another of the biggest social media companies. Vargas said the deal came after a lot of talks and meetings
“(and) the support of a lot of really wonderful people.”
This weekend Vargas will celebrate his 23rd birthdayresearch and development 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 only three of those races. The team announced a week ago that another driver, who is also sponsoring, will race in Texas, Homestead and Phoenix.
If Vargas is disappointed, he’s good at hiding it. He said it was all part of his continuous learning process.
“I hate learning this way,” he said, laughing, then getting serious. “But you know, at the end of the day, this sport is business first…I think you could say that’s the way the cookie crumbles and that’s part of the way it’s going.
“Sometimes you have to put your feelings aside and understand these things and I understood them from the start. I understand that there are lights that have to go on, that employees pay. And I will always understand that.”
Vargas has his sights set on Talladega and a good run with the Chevy-sponsored r/NASCAR Reddit and those races he will be up for the rest of the season.
“I’m just looking forward to finishing these last few races,” he said. “I’m looking forward to putting that six-car at the front and taking advantage of these opportunities I have.”
For those races he will not be participating in, he will still be working alongside the team, in the shop and on the track.
“You know, it wasn’t the easiest year,” Vargas said. “But it’s good to have races coming up where, even though those races are not announced, you know, we have a lot of really great programs all set for a great 2023.”