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NASCAR Cup Series

No Power for Ragan; Bayne Embraces Fans

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By Matt Weaver – CHARLOTTE, NC: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver David Ragan was supposed to start-up Doug Herbert’s NHRA Top Fuel Dragster on Wednesday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway — but he just couldn’t get it fired.

That was the planned main attraction to the Parade of Power but it didn’t make a difference to the hundreds of fans who showed up and were still treated to an intimate and fun afternoon interacting with some of their favorite racers.

Ragan said that he was disappointed that they couldn’t put on a show and was most surprised how tight a fit the dragster was, especially considering that Herbert is somewhat larger than the average stock car driver.

The parade itself featured cars representing a wide variety of motorsports, intending to call attention to the racing events remaining to run this fall at the venue’s vast array of tracks. That list includes NASCAR, NHRA, World of Outlaws and many more.

Amongst the NASCAR contingent that appeared was Ragan, Trevor Bayne and Scott Speed — the latter of which was also at the event to represent Global Rallycross.

For the drivers, this presented a fun opportunity to give back to the fans, chat with them in a less formal setting than the racetrack and in a scenario where so much of their time isn’t spent towards race preparation.

Bayne says he sees events like the Parade of Power as a chance to mingle with fans like the drivers of yesteryear. He acknowledged that NASCAR is so popular because the drivers are accessible and that he wants to maintain that tradition by attending as many fan events as possible.

“We do this as often as we can at the race track but events like this really open it up,” Bayne told Popular Speed on Wednesday. “It’s cool for our partners and our sponsors too — they help us reach the fans. We drivers are here because we’ve connected with the fans and we couldn’t do this without them.

“It’s a cliché but events like this are a reminder.”

A photo album from the event can be found here on our Facebook page as well as an interview conducted with Ragan just moments after his Top Fuel Dragster seat time.

Matt Weaver is the Executive Editor of POPULAR SPEED. He has covered NASCAR since 2011 and full-time since 2013. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He has been published all across the country and routinely makes radio appearances on Sirius XM Satellite radio and NBC Sports Radio Network.

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