From RCC to NASCAR: Meet our own Vaughan Crittenden ’12

It seems like Vaughan Crittenden is always moving fast. From the time he gets up in his dorm room at James Madison University to late evening when he finally gets back into his bed, he’s going over 100 miles an hour. It’s what he’s used to.

Vaughan Crittenden at the track, where he's most comfortable.

Vaughan Crittenden at the track, where he’s most comfortable.

Crittenden attended Rappahannock Community College from 2010 to 2012 made the jump to JMU thanks to RCC’s Guaranteed Admission Agreement (GAA) with that school. All of his hard work — he hopes — will pay off soon, as he is aiming for a position somewhere in the break-neck world of NASCAR.

While a student here at RCC, Crittenden spent much of his “down time” at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia, where he served as the director of communications, public relations official, on-track announcer, photographer, video guy … and one other interesting duty. Driver.

“I’ve been racing for 11 years,” said Crittenden. “I drive a pro-wing champ car, which is basically a very souped-up go-kart with a wing on it.”

During race weekends in the spring and summer, Crittenden races against 30 other cars, and at the end of his race, he jumps out of the car and keeps working at the same pace the rest of the night.

“There are many times where I am running around the track doing media in a firesuit,” said Crittenden. “And my division, because we are smaller, are is always the first race of the night.”

“We will race our 20 laps, then I will run out to the trailer, grab my phone and computer, and run up to the press box,” laughed Crittenden. “I run around all night long!”

His hard work off the track has garnered him some important attention from those in NASCAR venues outside of Langley Speedway. In addition to his duties with Langley Speedway, which included detailed work on social media as well as rebuilding the track website, he was invited to work a race weekend at Pocono Raceway in Pennsylvania.

“I took pictures at Pocono all weekend long during their Cup race,” said Crittenden. “And it ended up that the last day, Sunday, was when Dale [Earnhardt] Jr. won. I was actually able to get a selfie with Dale Jr. in victory lane!”

Crittenden’s career path is definitely looking bright. And while the Middlesex County native ultimately wants to work for NASCAR — for a team, driver, or track — he also has an interest in video production, which he dabbles in, on the side.

While at JMU, Crittenden has taken a little time to reflect on what his time at RCC meant, and just how much those two years in the Associate of Arts and Sciences Transfer Degree program helped him find his path.

“The best thing about RCC is that it’s a great way for those who are just in to figure out what they want to do, on their own without being rushed,” said Crittenden.

“You’re not at the big four-year institution where you’re spending forty grand a year not knowing what you want to do,” he said. “RCC gives you time to think and without blowing the bank. It is a great local opportunity.”

“RCC did wonders for me,” said Crittenden. “I struggled in high school and RCC gave me a chance to regroup, and I was able to figure out what I wanted to do.”

“Going to school at RCC really helped me get on the path that I am on now.”