Vargas returns to NASCAR West champion Sean Woodside

By Seth Eggert, Associate Editor

During Darlington Raceway’s NASCAR Throwback Weekend, Ryan Vargas will pay tribute to NASCAR champion and former competitor Sean Woodside.

Ryan Vargas. (Photo by NKP / NKP Photo)

Vargas may be new to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, but the Drive for Diversity alum is a student of the sport. The La Mirada, Calif. native grew up racing Late Models at Irwindale Speedway with NASCAR Winston West Series (now known as ARCA Menards Series West) champion Sean Woodside.

The duo fought hard but with respect. Vargas used the opportunities he had competing with Woodside to learn multiple skills which he carried into NASCAR’s National Touring Series.

“Sean was a competitor for sure on the track, he always ran me hard, but he ran with respect, and I knew how long he had been in the sport,” Vargas explained. “He’s a Winston West champion, he’s won dozens and dozens of races in the Late Model ranks. He’s got seven West Series wins. To be a champion in the sport, especially in such a competitive era as she was, it’s certainly not an easy task.

Ryan Vargas returns to NASCAR West champion and compatriot Sean Woodside for the truck race at Darlington Raceway.
Ryan Vargas. (Photo by NKP / NKP Photo)

The camaraderie and mentorship Woodside gave Vargas and others remained. The NASCAR Next alum used the tips to get to victory lane just a week after the champ ruined his birthday.

“I remember my 17th birthday, I was racing in Irwindale, and I think it was like a 40 lap race,” Vargas recalled. “We led just about every lap except two. These other two were led by Sean. He beat me and so he ruined my birthday that day.

“But after the race I went up to him and just said, ‘man, how do you do that?’ We talked for about 10 minutes but some of the advice and tips he gave me that race definitely paid off and we ended up going to the next race and won this one and then we ended up winning the great end-of-year race.

The truck Vargas and his team TRS SESCO Toyota Tundra #30 refer to is Woodside’s #31 Ford F-150 from the now defunct 2000 Dodge California 250 at Mesa Marin Raceway. It was the second of Woodside’s two career Truck Series starts. An accident at the end of the race left him 24th, out of the race.

With NASCAR’s 75 year history, many drivers and teams often choose to return to more iconic paint schemes. Vargas has even done it in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, returning to Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin and, most recently, Jeff Gordon.

Being a student of the sport, Vargas wanted to tell one of the lesser-known stories of NASCAR’s 75th anniversary season. That’s what led him to Woodside’s Truck. The fact that Vargas refers to a friend and a mentor is just an added bonus.

“There are so many stories and legendary drivers who have kind of come through the ranks, whether they made it to the cup series, the truck or the Xfinity series or not,” Vargas said. “To be able to tell this story in a really neat way like this, put his greatest career highlights or his wins out West, but damn it, I wanted to highlight his truck starts.

“It made more sense to go back to his truck too considering I drive a truck. It’s good to know the guy. It’s cool to know him personally, and I was able to show him the paint scheme and he was very excited to see it. It definitely got him excited and I’m really excited to see what we can do.

On board for Vargas’ return to Woodside is another new partner. The 22-year-old welcomes TRS SESCO, an HVAC and plumbing solutions company to NASCAR. This is the latest company that Vargas has partnered with. In total, the recipient of the National Motorsports Press Association’s First Quarter Pocono Spirit Award is associated with more than 25 different brands.

KSDT and Rangeline Group will also be on Vargas’ Toyota Tundra.

“I am very pleased to welcome a new partner board this weekend in Darlington to TRS SESCO,” said Vargas. TRS SESCO is the leading provider of HVAC and plumbing solutions in the Southeastern United States and I am delighted to welcome them aboard and introduce them to excellent HVAC and plumbing solutions along with their top customer service of range.

“The KSDT CPA of Miami, Florida is returning to the sponsorship fold for 2023! KSDT CPA is one of South Florida’s most dynamic and respected full-service accounting and consulting firms, and has been recognized by Forbes likes Forbes as “America’s Best Recommended Tax and Accounting Firm” for 2022.

“We also welcome PVI Industries, Williamsburg Contracting and Advanced Masonry & Concrete!”

The journeyman driver just finished his first career top 10 finish at Texas Motor Speedway. Vargas finished eighth, tying his result in his first Xfinity Series top 10

In total, Vargas has five starts at “The Track Too Tough to Tame”. His career-best finish at Darlington is 21st in last year’s comeback race.

The Click It, Don’t Risk It 200 is scheduled for Friday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1. The race will also air on Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.

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