BERLIN — As any racing enthusiast will tell you, pacing is as important as speed. There’s no point in being the fastest car in the race if you run out of gas before the finish. But this year’s youngest Wor-Wic Community College graduate, Tory Vaughan IV still has plenty in the tank as he prepares for the next few year’s worth of schooling and racing.
Vaughan’s educational path is as unusual as his prospective career path. Home schooled since he was 17, he budgeted his time between racing — first go carts, then S-10 super trucks — and studying. For him, the key was to prize quality over speed as a way of making sure he got as much from his education as he did out of his pickup.
His prudent planning allowed him plenty of time to use his book knowledge as well as his mechanical knowledge to push himself a little harder each year.
When it came time for Vaughan to transition into college, he welcomed the challenge of the coursework and the even greater responsibilities that came with it. The deadlines were now further apart than they had been during his previous education, which gave him more opportunity to slack off, if he chose to.
He, of course, chose not to. Although he’d taken a course or two at Wor-Wic before finishing high school, Vaughan understood that in order to really succeed and to pursue his next academic goal at Daytona State College, Fla., where he’ll study welding and high performance engine mechanics, he’d have to continue to push himself.
Although he had found his limits on the track — a wrecked Chevy pickup in his yard provides his new truck parts as much as it reinforces a cautionary tale about limits — in school, he never seemed to find his breaking point.
Last week he accepted his diploma in business management the day before he turned 20, making him the youngest graduate in the Wor-Wic Class of 2011. He spent his birthday working on his truck in anticipation of an upcoming race at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va.
“I just buckled down and did all the work,” he said. While the work was all his own, though, Vaughn said that his support group, including his parents, Tory and Julie, his younger sister, Annie, and his friends, Brad Adams and Eric Bucklew, was integral in making the work both bearable and worth it.
He said he chose the business management path at Wor-Wic because it provided him with a baseline knowledge that could be applied both to his immediate goals and to his longer term ones.
Vaughn already has a quasi-successful racing business. He has sponsors to please and manage as well as deals to make with prospective sponsors. He’ll also have to have a significant grounding in managing his financial and corporate affairs.
From his perspective, even if he has trouble making it in racing, between the business acumen he’s gotten from his Wor-Wic education and the further mechanical knowledge he’s certain to get at Daytona, he’s likely to have all the work he can handle in the short term, which is fine with him.
“It was just something I thought would be good for me even if I can’t get into racing,” he said.
But as Vaughn continues to master his skills behind the wheel, under the hood and in the classroom, it looks as if he’ll continue to push his limits until he’s satisfied.