Ryan Vargas to make NASCAR national series debut at Iowa

Davey Segal

Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award winner Ryan Vargas will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut next weekend at Iowa Speedway, driving the No. 15 for JD Motorsports.

“I’m really excited to share with everybody that I’m finally making my Xfinity Series debut,” Vargas told NASCAR.com. “I’ll be driving for JD Motorsports in the No. 15 Cranio Care Bears Chevrolet Camaro. Really excited about that. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

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The 18-year-old La Mirada, California, native competed full time in the K&N Pro Series East for Rev Racing last season, scoring six top-10 finishes en route to a sixth-place finish in the standings. He previously was a member of the NASCAR Drive for Diversity and NASCAR Next classes.

RELATED: Xfinity Series schedule

Vargas also suffers from craniosynostosis, a condition which causes brain and skull growth problems. His sponsor, Cranio Care Bears, is a non-profit that aims to spread awareness, support and compassion though care packages.

“A lot of work went into this,” he said. “I got ahold of the right people and they all told me to go to (team owner) Johnny Davis. They told me he was the man to talk to, the team to go with. Five months of trying to get some stuff going and really nice to see this all come together right now. I’m over the moon.”

Vargas has been keeping busy this season, competing for the track championship at Irwindale Speedway, where he already has two victories. In his one prior start at Iowa Speedway in the K&N East Series, he started 10th and finished seventh.

“I like Iowa. Not only did we finish decent, but we ran inside the top three,” he said of the 2018 race. “I wasn’t anticipating anything like that. When I went there in the K&N car and ran up front, that was a totally neat experience. I’m really excited to go up there in the Xfinity car and get the hang of it.”

MORE: Vargas’ full stats

In preparation for the 0.875-mile oval, Vargas has been studying his notes from the K&N Pro Series, watching footage and talking with a series veteran and former teammate.

“I’ve been able to talk to Justin Allgaier about his experience being in the Xfinity car,” he said. “Even Ruben Garcia Jr. when he was in the Xfinity car. It’s been a lot of fun hearing what they’ve had to say. I’m really excited to get after it.”

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