By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
JD Motorsports driver Ryan Vargas utilized the traction compound and stayed out of trouble to earn his first career top-10 at Texas Motor Speedway.
Back on the Lead Lap
Vargas earned the free pass under the eighth caution of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 on lap 159. During the caution the 20-year-old brought the No. 6 TikTok Chevrolet Camaro SS to the attention of his JD Motorsports with Gary Keller crew.
A few laps after the restart, Vargas had to take evasive action. Myatt Snider and Joe Graf Jr collided and spun on the backstretch. As Vargas’ teammate Colby Howard was collected in the incident, he dove low to avoid Graf. The La Mirada, Calif. tip-toed around both Howard and Snider on the outside to continue on.
Another restart resulted in another incident, this time among the leaders. As Justin Allgaier, Ross Chastain, Jeremy Clements, and Brandon Jones crashed, Vargas once again had to take evasive action. The NASCAR Next alumni followed Brandon Brown and Josh Williams through the smoke and by the wreck.
When the race restarted with 15 laps to go, Vargas was outside the top-10. He positioned his car on the outside in the traction compound. With the added grip, Vargas ran down and passed Bayley Currey, Alex Labbe, and Tommy Joe Martins to move into the top-10. When the white flag waved, he was battling with Williams for eighth. Again, using the traction compound, he surged forward and took the checkered flag in eighth.
“Unbelievable, the car was insanely good in the PJ1,” Vargas explained on social media. “Definitely had a top-10 car, proud to bring it home in that spot. Honestly, I’m just so honored to drive Johnny Davis’ racecar.
“300 miles done, we got ourselves a top-10, heck of a rebound from where we started. Two rough runs, awesome to come back and get a top-10. I’m blown away, this was huge for our team. Thank you TikTok, JD Motorsports, everyone who supports this team for everything. This is the biggest moment in my racing career. I’m ready for Martinsville”
.@RyanVargas_23 earns his first career Top 10 finish today at @TXMotorSpeedway! Hear his post race thoughts after a fantastic 8th place run. #TeamJDM | #NASCAR | #XfinitySeries pic.twitter.com/iLqaAg1wNx
— JD Motorsports w/ Gary Keller (@JDMotorsports01) October 24, 2020
Vargas was actually two laps down at one point during the 300-mile race at Texas. He took the wave-around prior to earning the free pass.
The eighth-place finish is the first career top-10 for Vargas in the Xfinity Series. The top-10 comes in his seventh start of 2020 and his 10th career start in Xfinity competition.
Post-race, he was met by his mom on pit road. The two hugged as Vargas celebrated his career milestone.
This is everything. Love you mom, thank you for believing in me. pic.twitter.com/CNE0AltYYH
— Ryan Vargas (@RyanVargas_23) October 25, 2020
Next for Vargas is the Draft Top 250 at Martinsville Speedway. Although the Xfinity Series last visited ‘The Paperclip’ in 2006, many regulars in the series have experience in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series as well as the Cup Series. Vargas is one of several that have no experience at the Virginia track.
Photo by NKP / NKP Photo