NASCAR Drivers Visit Manchester Kids
NASCAR drivers Ryan Vargas and Alex Tagliani visited with Automotive Technology Students at Manchester Community College, pediatric patients at Elliot Hospital and children and teenagers at the Webster House, all in Manchester, New Hampshire on Wednesday before heading to New Hampshire Motor Speedway for this weekend's inaugural Full Throttle Fall Weekend.
"I'm so happy that I was able to visit New Hampshire before the race," said Tagliani. "I have a young daughter of my own, so I know how important it is to spend time with kids, and I hope we were able to brighten their day a little bit today."
The drivers first stopped by Manchester Community College where they met with nearly 25 students enrolled in the Automotive Technology program. They greeted the students outside with the NHMS show car, where Vargas jumped in the driver seat to rev the engine and make some noise. The students then gave Vargas and Tagliani a tour of their classroom and shop, telling them what they're learning and showing them the cars they're working on.
"I can relate to you guys, and I was really excited to come here today," said 17-year-old NASCAR K&N Pro Series rookie Vargas. "A lot of people nowadays just pay people to work on their cars, but I spend a lot of time in the shop back home, because my dad wanted to make sure I was there to learn about my car. Some kids don't grow up with that lesson. After we had a few wrecks, I had to rebuild the cars myself, and then we were winning a lot, and that's just because I had a great deal of respect for my car, my crew and other people's cars and crew. It's very important to know the basics."
The next stop of the day was at Elliot Hospital, which hit home with for Vargas, who was born with Craniosynostosis.
"It's basically a deformation of the skull," explained Vargas. "I had to have surgery for it when I was 11 months old, and that lead to this scar that goes all the way around my head. That's something I wear with pride every day, and that's the reason why I'm here. It's really cool to be able to spend time with these fans, meet new people, meet these kids and maybe get them to want to go to some races or even be race car drivers one day."
Vargas painted a wooden race car with a young girl, raced toy cars on the special Elliot Hospital Race Track with a young boy and handed out autographed hero cards to a few other patients. Both drivers then made a couple individual visits to patient rooms.
The day wrapped up with a visit to the Webster House, where Vargas and Tagliani played pool, video games, air hockey and ate cake with the children and teenagers before shifting gears to focus on getting ready for their races this weekend.
"A lot of our Canadian folks are coming down to see our race and see our championship battle," said Tagliani. "We're excited the New Hampshire Motor Speedway decided to add a Pinty's race. I'm going to take the opportunity to do some mountain biking, which is not something that happens when we go to a race. You go to a race, you do your job, you drive the race car, and then you also enjoy a little bit of tourism. At least in this place, I'm going to be able to do it and have some good photos once I leave."
Vargas and Tagliani remain in New Hampshire for this weekend's Full Throttle Fall Weekend when they take on "The Magic Mile" - Vargas in the first global NASCAR K&N Pro Series race, the Apple Barrel 125, and Tagliani in the first time Canada's NASCAR Pinty's Series will race in the U.S. at the Visit New Hampshire 100. The Sept. 21-22 weekend will also feature the longest mileage and richest purse race in NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour history, the Musket 250.
For ticket information for Full Throttle Fall Weekend visit the speedway website at www.NHMS.com or call Fan Relations at (603) 783-4931.