Fernando Vargas From The Ring To The Raceway

From the ring to the raceway
By:Albert Alvarez
Fernando Vargas, El Feroz looking to pack a punch for Nascar Mexico Toyota Series Race
As a boxer, Fernando Vargas was 100% pure fighter that laid it all on the line each and everytime that he stepped foot inside the ring. His battles inside the ring were always filled with excitement and it kept every fan at the edge of their seat. His nicknames include “Ferocious”, “The Aztec Warrior” and “El Feroz”, but it didn’t really matter what you called him, his aggressive in your face fighting style brought a legion of boxing fanatics to the sport of boxing. It has been over 6 years since the young 35 year old retired fighter last laced the gloves up for a prize fight. But by the looks of it, it’s as if he never left the sport. ”El Feroz” still gets mobbed everywhere he goes by fans wanting to show their affection and gratitude. Vargas won his first world title in 1998, by capturing the IBF light middleweight title as a 21 year old, and did so by accomplishing his dream in only his 15th profesional fight. Vargas is holder of a 26-5 professional record and also won a bronze medal as an amateur at the 1995 Pan American Games. 
And now the three-time boxing world champion can add another title to his long list of honors. Vargas will now look to bring his energy and success to a whole new platform, from the ring to the raceway.
Back in October of 2012, Vargas was named Honorary Pace Car Driver for the inaugural NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series race at Phoenix International Raceway that would take place on Friday, March 1st of 2013. At the time and even now, Phoenix International Raceway President Bryan R. Sperber was quoted as saying: “We are honored to have Fernando Vargas as our Honorary Pace Car Driver for the debut of the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series, and we know he will bring a lot of energy to this event and the fans will be tremendously excited to see him in person.” And by the looks of it, Sperber was then and especially now, spot on with that statement. It’s safe to say that the involvement of Vargas will bring a whole new demographic of people. It will bring a whole new fan base to the sport of NASCAR that it hadn’t had before.
In my conversation with Vargas, he strongly believes that it is a very good thing for everybody involved. Fernando also advised me that he hopes to bring a new fan base for NASCAR. NASCAR, track officials, the TV networks and nearly every sponsor associated with the sport will have their eyes on Fernando, hoping he not only brings more exposure to the sport but opens up new doors for a broader, younger fan base.
As honorary pace car driver for NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series’ debut on U.S. soil, Vargas got the chance to rev up the crowd by leading the field to the green flag on their inaugural trip around PIR’s famed 1-mile oval. He also got to work with PIR officials and the NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series team to help welcome fans, drivers, and competitors to Phoenix for this landmark event. The crowd went crazy and cheered very loud for their boxing hero as if he was back in the ring. Chants of “Ferocious” and “El Feroz”, could all be heard around me as Vargas made his round.
So how exactly did he feel about being able to experience this once in a lifetime opportunity? ”It was a great honor to have gotten the opportunity to lead the field to the Green Flag at the first NASCAR Mexico Toyota Series race here at PIR and see my Arizona fans,” said Vargas. “Truly another crowning moment in my life where I’m careful to give all the praise to my maker Jesus Christ, it’s something that I will never forget, and it was truly very humbling. To hear a lot of my boxing fans follow me here to Nascar to show support for me, is a very special thing and I really appreciate everyone that came out, like I said, I was extremely humbled.”
As I pulled up to the event, it became very clear to me that the Vargas fanatics came out to show their love and support. It was as if the fans knew that this was very important to Vargas, so in turn, this was now also very important to them to come out by the hundreds to be here and lay it all on the line as Vargas had done in the ring for himself and for them. 
And how does the adrenaline rush of being in the ring, compare to the rush you just experienced driving that very fast car as the crowd went crazy? ” I was actually very excited about it, and I was so glad that I had help in there in that very fast car, it wasn’t the ball of nerves that a fighter tends to have from time to time, but the adrenaline rush was definately there,” answered Vargas.
You came from a very hard walk of life that forced you to grow up a lot faster than the average kid. But through your hard work and commitment, you not only were able to accomplish a lot in boxing, but you are now a father, husband, businessman, and now you can add being a pace driver to your list of accomplishments. What great advice was given to you as a youth that you can share with us and others that may be experiencing some of the very same things that you experienced? Fernando responded by saying, ”The advice that I would like to provide, would be for you to follow your dreams and passion, it’s going to take a lot of hard work but if you stay 100% committed to your goals, then your dreams will then at that time soon be accomplished.” 

On a boxing related question, (Yes, you know I had to sneak one in there) who would you say is the closest thing to Fernando Vargas fighting today? ” I would have to say that Mikey Garcia is the closest fighter to me, he is trained in the same manner in which I was trained by the Big G, Eduardo and Robert Garcia. So I would have to go with Mikey Garcia. He is a patient fighter that looks for clean shots and then he just breaks you down. The Garcia’s trained me very well and you can see that very same hunger in Mikey,” said Vargas.

So what is coming up next in the exciting world of Fernando Vargas? What can we look forward to see you in next? ” I can’t get too much into the specifics, but all I can say is that big things are coming, a lot of great opportunities are on the horizon, so be on the look out for some exciting news in the near future. I want to once again thank all my fans that came out to show support. I really enjoyed the Nascar experience and it is definately something that I would love to do again, without a doubt,” Answered Vargas.

Since 1964, Phoenix International Raceway has served race fans as the premier motorsports venue in the Southwest. And I have a feeling that Phoenix International Raceway has gained a few more fans to the sport. Phoenix International Raceway can now begin to add more seating, As I myself as well as the P.I.R. virgins sitting near me, had a very good time experiencing Live races for the first time and we all plan on making a return in the near future. I encourage everyone to go and check out the races out for yourselves, do not be afraid to venture off into new things, you will be surprised at how much fun you will have. And I can’t help but to give a special thanks to Fernando Vargas and to the entire Phoenix International Raceway for giving me the opportunity to not only experience but to also be a part of this historic event, without your participation in this, I along with hundreds others, would have probably not have stepped foot into the very exciting world of NASCAR.