Free time can often turn expensive in Las Vegas, which is why I wondered if any Twitter followers wanted to meet up for dinner Tuesday night. I figured it would keep me away from the casinos and also be a fun time to chat with people about NASCAR.
But the night turned out to be way better than expected, and I want to share the story with you.
Three Vegas locals — Hunter, Bruce and Jose — were among those who saw my dinner invitation. But a non-local saw it, too: David Ragan.
After spotting the tweet while lying in bed scrolling through his timeline on Monday night, Ragan reached out with an incredible offer: Why not have the group join him and spotter Rocky Ryan for dinner at an Italian restaurant owned by Ragan’s friend?
So there we were — a driver, spotter, writer and three NASCAR fans — sitting at Ferraro’s, enjoying some crazy good family-style food and talking about all things racing.
As we dined on gnocchi and chicken Marsala and calamari, Ragan told us what it was like to be in the middle of a three-wide pack at Talladega. Ryan told us about his days as Ward Burton’s spotter. The fans told us about why they liked certain drivers and which races were on their bucket list.
While Ragan and Ryan spoke, I kept peeking at Bruce and Hunter and Jose to see their faces, and it was so cool to see them smiling and soaking up the experience. Meanwhile, Ragan and Ryan spent two and a half hours at the dinner — this despite being on Eastern time after just landing in Vegas — and could not have been nicer.
Anyway, that’s it. There’s no “catch” to this story. Ragan didn’t ask me to write about it or even mention it to anyone. He wasn’t trying to promote anything. The fans didn’t have to pay a dime.
Ragan just decided, completely on his own, to give three avid NASCAR followers the kind of memory they’ll treasure forever.