LA MIRADA – Most 16-year-olds are bugging their parents to let them use the car to practice their driving skills in vacant parking lots, but La Mirada High School’s Ryan Vargas holds official track records for the fastest time at four race tracks.
His drives cars with 400 horsepower to the tires, at speeds as high as 140 miles per hour.
What started off as a dream, has quickly become a reality for Vargas who was named NASCAR’s 2016 Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award recipient.
The amatuer racing phenom manages to juggle his AP and Honors classes while maintaining his strict workout routine.
He credits his dad, John Vargas, for his inextinguishable work ethic, his competitive drive, and believing in him enough to invest into his career in order to make this all possible.
John had hopes of retiring in a few years after a long career as an iron worker, but he jokes that he won’t be retiring anytime soon because of how expensive it is to maintain a race team and car.
Together, the Vargas family have made an instant impact in the sport and community in the four short years that they have been competing.
“A few years ago, when we first got into racing, we didn’t know much about the cars. In fact, we didn’t know much about racing,” said Ryan Vargas.
His dad has dedicated his nights and weekends to his son’s passion. John mastered working on the Bandoleros, the mini race cars that Ryan used to drive when he first got into the sport, earning himself the title “The Bandolero Guru” for consistently putting the fastest cars on the track.
The father and son have a stronger connection today than they did before Ryan got into the sport because they spend countless hours together under the hood perfecting their race car for the weekend races. But first they travel to the racetracks that are usually a few hours drive, both ways.
It sounds like a lot of work and an expensive hobby but you can see that it is effort and funds well spent when you get the chance to sit down with the Vargas family.
Everyone in the family is a special member of the race team and share in the glory of Ryan’s accomplishments. Their faces light up and their passion become contagious.
Ryan’s humble mindset and hard work ethic, both on and off the racetrack, is what sets him apart from the pack.
He knows how much his family has sacrificed in order for him to chase his dream, so he holds himself accountable for the success of the team.