Ryan Vargas accepts the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award at the 2016 NASCAR Home Tracks awards ceremony. (NASCAR.com)

The 2018 season will mark a new beginning for La Mirada, California’s Ryan Vargas.

Vargas has moved to Charlotte, North Carolina to be with his new Rev Racing team as part of the Drive for Diversity program whom he will be competing with full-time in the K&N Pro Series East, and making select starts in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in Rev’s Late Models.

Vargas, a two-time winner of NASCAR’s Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award, was recently chosen as part of Rev’s 2018 Drive for Diversity class after their combine at New Smyrna Speedway. Vargas won’t be running a Late Model every weekend, but will run them when his schedule allows.

“With Rev, we will be doing a couple of Late Model Stock races when we don’t have any K&N East races, it will be a nice way to get some seat time between races,” Vargas told Race22.com. “This whole season is about stepping up equipment and running up front. Hopefully this year I can be the one to put their equipment up front in both the K&N East series and in Late Model Stock.”

While Vargas is new to the area, and the drivers in it, he has already faced some pretty stout competition back on the West Coast, and recently captured the 100-lap Fall Shootout at Irwindale.

“I have raced again great competition like Trevor Huddleston back in California,” Vargas said, “I want to take all the lessons I learned last year and be able to apply this year when I race against Lee Pulliam, and Peyton Sellers.”

While the tracks will also be new, Vargas has been studying up, and doing his homework on what to expect at tracks like Langley and South Boston.

“I’m pretty excited to head to Langley Speedway,” Vargas remarked. “I have watched a lot of YouTube videos from there and the racing there looks really good, so I am excited to get out there. I’ve also watched a lot of stuff from South Boston, including the Denny Hamlin showdown from a few years back, it reminds me a lot of one my home tracks, Kern County.”

The hardest part for Vargas may be the transition to the car itself, as Late Model Stock Cars do not run on the West Coast and the tire compound run on the West Coast is different than the ones he will run at Langley or South Boston.  However, from the day he first sat in a LMSC, Vargas has found himself at home.

“I did a test with Lee Faulk Racing and then the combine, and the LMSC really suit my driving style, especially coming from the Late Models back home,” Vargas explained. “Back on the West Coast, they put the Late Models on Hoosier 970 tires, so we don’t have much grip but out here, they put us on the F-45 tires and they are amazing. That’s a sacred tire back home. You see them and doves fly out.”

While it remains to be seen how Vargas will adapt to LMSC, he certainly has the talent, and expertise around him to do so.