NASCAR: How a YouTube channel helped spark a new partnership

Ryan Vargas, JD Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)
Ryan Vargas, JD Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) /

NASCAR Xfinity Series rookie Ryan Vargas formed a new partnership with Swann for the 2021 season, and how it got started is quite an interesting story.

Ryan Vargas has competed in select races in the NASCAR Xfinity Series since 2019 after his sixth place finish in the K&N Pro Series East championship standings in the 2020 season.

After finishing out the 2020 season with six straight starts for JD Motorsports, including one at Texas Motor Speedway that saw him finish in a career-high eighth place, he landed a full-time ride with the team behind the wheel of the #6 Chevrolet for the 2021 season.

Ahead of the season, the 20-year-old La Mirada, California native formed a partnership with Swann, a pioneer in the global security camera market for over three decades.

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Swann’s innovative DIY security solutions include their patent-pending Enforcer Series product line, which offers enhanced crime deterrence with red and blue flashing lights where unusual and unwanted activity is detected. They served as the primary sponsor of Vargas’s #6 Chevrolet in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway this past Saturday and are slated to do so again at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May, Road America in July and Texas Motor Speedway in October.

We had the opportunity to speak to Vargas about how this partnership was formed, and as it turns out, it stemmed from him watching YouTube.

“I saw Swann, I saw their innovative products, such as their enforcer kit, and I could see that they are continuously innovating and continuously growing,” Vargas told Beyond the Flag. “I just wanted to reach out. I saw them actually via Eric Estepp’s YouTube channel, and I learned more about the company, and the more and more impressed I got. So it’s a real honor to bring them to the sport and have the opportunity to work alongside them.”

Vargas gave us more insight to the brand and their product line as well.

“As I mentioned earlier, we use their enforcer kit — it even has a little siren that kind of goes off when it detects something. We actually are about to equip our entire shop with those products, and on top of that you got their 4K cameras and just all their innovative products.

“They’re just continuously stepping up their game, and that’s what I think is the most important thing. In racing, you’re always having to grow and continue learning. … It’s really, really cool to work alongside them and I’ve very, very excited to see where this partnership goes.”

We also spoke to Vargas about what it’s like being a rookie at NASCAR’s second highest level. He finished in 18th place in the season opener and is eyeing Rookie of the Year honors by the time the checkered flag flies at Phoenix Raceway in November, all while continuing to build on his new relationship with Swann.

“We actually were able to score Rookie of the Race at Daytona this past weekend, so really unique opportunity there,” he said. “This is the first time I’ve had scheduled races in a very, very long time. And the coolest thing about that is, as you mentioned, yeah, we’re working with Swann as a primary for four races, but they’re on board as an associate for every single one.

“So we’re going to continuously be growing that partnership, I’m going to be continuously learning more and more about the company itself and their products and their brand message. And I think that’s going to be really, really cool — just continuously growing, learning on and off the track.”

What does Vargas see as a successful rookie season?

“A successful year, as you mentioned, is getting Rookie of the Year,” he noted. “But if we’re able just to continue keeping the car on track, keeping all the fenders on the car, being smart, I think that’s really the main objective every single weekend.

“For a team like JD Motorsports, we value consistency and being able to return the car to the shop with little to no damage. Just this past weekend, three of the four JD cars were wrecked out of the race. We were the only one that finished.

“So it’s important for us to keep our equipment intact so that when we go to another race, we have to use these cars again. So what we bring back to the shop is either going to set us back eventually or allow us to continue improving on what we’ve brought.”

How does he see the team growing throughout the year?

“You mentioned top fives and even having a shot at a win,” he said. “That’d be big. That’d be big for our team, that’d be big for myself. If we’re able to continue knocking on the door of top 10s — we had a top 10 last year at Texas in the fall, which is one of the races that Swann will be on board as a primary sponsor — so if we’re able to continue doing that, knocking top 10s down and start looking at possibly breaking into that top five, I think you’re just going to continue seeing that trend happen with our team. We’ve brought some really fast race cars to the track recently, and that’s thanks to all the hard work that goes in at the shop.”

He noted a few tracks he has circled as far as potentially being able to break through and score top 10 finishes, or even top five finishes, this year.

“Like I mentioned earlier, Texas was a really good one for us,” he continued. “Another one that I’m really excited about is going back to Darlington. I really enjoyed myself there, that was a lot of fun. We had a lot of speed there. We unfortunately got caught up in someone’s oil there, and it took us out of the race. But before that, we ran ourselves inside the top 15.

“And then obviously the superspeedways. Every single superspeedway race, JD Motorsports, we bring a great race car to all those events. I think that’s probably one that we kind of always have circled, where we go into those races and we have a legitimate chance. So I think those are some of the races that I’m excited about.

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“And also the road courses. We’re going to a bunch of new ones this year. We got COTA on the schedule, that one’s going to be really, really cool. And then we’re going back to the Indianapolis road course. Two incredible facilities that I’m now going to be very fortunate to have the opportunity to race at. So just continuously trying to hone in my craft on various different race tracks.”