Young Racer ‘Brokering’ His Way Into Nascar
Nick Sanchez is like many young racers trying to make it into the top tiers of Nascar. The 19-year-old started racing go-karts at the age of 12 and recently moved into full-bodied stock cars racing in the ARCA Menards series.
But Sanchez stands out from the crowd of young racers for several reasons. His father is Cuban having come to the U.S. as part of the Mariel boatlift when he was just eight years old. Sanchez is one of only two active drivers who are Cuban (Aric Almirola with Stewart-Haas Racing is the other). He’s proud of his Cuban heritage and his Miami roots. And though he’s moved to Charlotte, the center of the Nascar world where most race teams are based, Miami is never far from his mind.
“It’s kind of nice having all of Miami and all of the Cuban heritage and even Latin heritage on my shoulders,” he said. “Miami is just different. There there’s no place like it.”
A graduate of Nascar’s Drive for Diversity program, Sanchez made the move to ARCA fulltime this season after winning the Wendell Scott Trailblazer Award in 2019 as the most outstanding minority driver at Nascar’s weekly late model series.
There’s another way Sanchez differentiates himself from the rest of the young up and coming racers. While most young drivers receive financial help from their parents, and Sanchez has done that, he is making his own way financially off the track. While his parents did pay some of the bills for his racing, they also gave him something else; the teenager is also a licensed mortgage broker.
“I’ve been brought up kind of in a family that goes out and gets it,” he said. “You know, we’re not the type to really sit around and wait for anything to happen.
“I always obviously wanted to make a living racing cars, and still that’s my main goal, but I also had other interests and endeavors. And one of those is the mortgage industry. My mom’s an account executive for a mortgage company. She has been in the mortgage business for 30 years. So that’s always something that I’ve had around me.”
Being a mortgage broker then is a Plan B for Sanchez.
“I always knew growing up if, if I didn’t race cars for a living, I would obviously have to do something else,” he said. “I thought about going to college. But you know, especially this year in ARCA and even last year, it was just, I think it would be too much.”
With college not an option, he turned his attention to a business he grew up around, helped by the events of 2020.
“I’m the type of person I like to focus on one thing, but just having my mom in that industry, it’s always been unique because there’s not a lot of people in the mortgage industry and it’s something that I’ve learned over the years. And then next thing I knew and when COVID hit I had all this off time and I’m like, you know what, I’ll just get my broker license and start doing it while the rates are low. Why not?”
Since he started, he’s become successful closing several deals. But brokering mortgages has also helped his racing career.
“I use it more as a tool to focus on my racing,” he said. “Like if you look at most drivers there, they’ve kind of put all their eggs in one basket. You know, if they don’t make it in racing, they have no idea what they want to do, but they don’t think of that.
“But utilizing this mortgage industry and knowing that, you know, if I don’t make it racing, I still have a very good opportunity to do well for myself. So having that in the back of my head kind of fuels that fire to my race and it allows me to attack it even more I feel like. So, it takes some of the pressure off… It really does honestly,”
Beyond taking the pressure off while racing, he applies lessons he’s learning in the mortgage industry to other areas outside the race car.
“You learn how to deal with people, and you learn different sales tactics,” he said. “I’ve implemented a lot of that into how I hunt for sponsorships on the racing side.”
Moving forward as he works his way up the ranks in stock car racing, Sanchez is prepared to leverage his mortgage business to help attract team owners who want a driver that may not demand as big a salary as others.
“I’ve thought about that many times,” he said. “That definitely is a possibility. And, you know, I’m the type of person where I just want to get my foot in the door for a team in that way.
“I don’t ask for a lot but having this industry behind me also gives me the opportunity to make money elsewhere… that’s totally something I’d do if I was presented the opportunity.”
The racing community is a group all its own, a clique that keeps to itself away from the cameras. Sanchez is among that group now, proving himself not only a talented racer, but also proving to be a savvy mortgage broker as well leveraging the opportunity as a marketing channel.
“A hundred percent,” he said smiling. “I already have business cards printed. I’ve already given many of them out. So I’m already definitely very much doing that.
“The more I market it within the industry, obviously the more business I get. I still try to make sure first and foremost people know me as a race car driver and not a broker, but I definitely try to throw it in there as low-key as possible.”
With his success brokering mortgages and with two top-10 finishes in his first four ARCA races of the season, including a third place at Talladega, Nick Sanchez is proving that he can not only close deals away from the track, he can also close them on track as well.