Vaughan Crittenden has always moved fast. As a student at Rappahannock Community College (RCC) and then James Madison University (JMU), he never tired of his fast-paced life. Between attending classes, doing homework, and racing with the Hampton Roads Kart Club, Crittenden was always on the go. It’s what he’s used to.
Crittenden, a Middlesex native, attended RCC for two years then transferred to JMU through the Guaranteed Admission Agreement (GAA). As a student, he always worked toward his goal of obtaining a position somewhere in the fast-paced world of NASCAR. While still in college, he spent much of his free time at Langley Speedway in Hampton where he served as the director of communications, public relations official, on-track announcer, photographer, video guy, and driver.
“I’ve been racing for 17 years,” said Crittenden. “I drove 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 competed against 30 other cars. At the end of his race, he jumped out of his car and continued working at the same pace the rest of the night. “My division, because we are smaller, was always the first race of the night. We raced our 20 laps, then I would run out to the trailer, grab my phone and computer, and run up to the press box. There are many times where I was running around the track doing media in a fire suit,” laughed Crittenden. “I raced around all night long!”
His hard work off the track garnered him 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 took some time to reflect on what his experience 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 heading to college 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 thousands of dollars 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.”
After graduating from JMU, he worked as a photojournalist for WHSV-TV in Harrisonburg, and founded his own video production firm Riverdale 24 Productions. He then landed a job at Richmond Raceway as its Manager of Communications. In February, Crittenden’s career came full circle when he was named Promoter and General Manager
for Larry King Law’s Langley Speedway, making him among the youngest to serve in this role in the NASCAR Roots Division.
“Going to school at RCC really helped me get on the path that I am on now.”