Short Track Lovin – Chapter 25

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So when the Snowball Derby started, I planned to base the results for Sarina on how Christopher Bell did throughout the weekend to not create a big bias, while using Chase’s actual results. Well, as everybody has probably heard by now, Bell was DQ’d, giving the win to Chase.

I’ve been debating whether to keep it that way – debating both ways to go about it – and decided to keep it. But I also made some adjustments in how things happen afterwards. So with that said…..

 

 

“Disqualifed!” Ricky Brooks lets out, causing everyone in the tech shed to look over at him in pure shock. “Left side weight may not exceed 58%. I have given you three chances to go over the scales and achieve the right weight, and each time, you have gone over. With a left side weight at 58.3%, you are stripped of the victory, Ms. Ott.”

 

Sarina could only stand there, shaking her head in disgust.

 

She had done everything that she needed to do. After having to come through the Last Chance Qualifier after the post-qualifying DQ, she started near the back of the pack for the biggest race of the season – the Snowball Derby. She drove her way through the field, taking the lead just over the halfway point. She then dominated the last half of the race, except for the period in which John Hunter Nemechek led before he had a brake issue. She would then cross the finish first ahead of the whole field.

 

Now she stood in post-race technical inspection, back to being disappointed beyond anything, due to being just 0.3% over weight.

 

“You can’t be serious!” She then lets out as Ricky looks over, shaking his head yes. “We were the right weight before the rac-”

 

“Barely, in which I warned you,” Ricky tells her as she walks over to where he stood by the scales.

 

“The mismatched numbers are a result of the fuel load. We should be allowed to re-add fuel to meet proper weight rule or have a fuel allowa-”

 

“You should consider the fuel allowance when you’re figuring out the weight, just like any of your fellow competitors. They’re all legal so you can’t use that argument.” Ricky then looks over at Chase Elliott. “Chase, congratulations. You’re the winner of the Snowball Derby.” Chase shakes his head, accepting.

 

Starting in the second spot, he had ran a strong race all day keeping himself within the top-five throughout the race despite only leading three laps. He was able to make a pass on Zane Smith in the closing laps to take home the second spot, which had ultimately handed him the victory.

 

“If you could report to the frontstretch, we will reshoot all the victory lane photos,” Ricky Brooks states as Chase solemnly shakes his head once again, climbing in the car to drive it out.

 

His eyes only caught Sarina once, and he felt a lump form in his throat immediately. As much as he wanted to win the Snowball Derby, this was the worst possible way to do so.

 

**********************

 

Climbing out of the car, Chase takes the trophy from his father and carries it into the hauler. He had told the team that he was going to change out of his suit, and then would help them load everything up.

 

As he walks through the trailer and up to the lounge, he looks on surprised as ever when he opens the door and sees a familiar face before him. He sets the trophy down carefully on the ledge, before letting his eyes rest back on her.

 

“I thought you would’ve left alrea-” He starts, quietly. This was more awkward that he could’ve ever imagined.

 

“And leave without seeing you and spending more time with you?” Sarina cuts him off as she keeps her eyes on him. “Really, Chase?” It felt good to hear those words from her, as he didn’t want their relationship to be affected by the events of the day.

 

“I thought that you’d be too upset and mad about what happened in post-race technical inspection, and since I got the win, it’d change things.” She shakes her head no as she lets out a sigh. She knew that explained why he left the tech shed without saying much following the ruling.

 

“Listen, was it your fault that Ricky found me illeg-?”

 

“I benefited from it, Sarina.” She then rolls her eyes, seeing how he didn’t understand anything that she was saying.

 

“You deserve it. You drove the best race of those legal and should be honored to get the win. I don’t want you to think differently of the win just because of what happened.” She then glances at her phone, seeing another text message from Jeremy. She tosses the phone aside with a sigh. “As far as the disqualification, it’s rightfully deserved. The car was illegal as Ricky fou-”

 

“It was only by a mer-”

 

“I asked Jeremy about it – with regards to breaking the rules, being so close to the edge and the supposed warnings that Ricky mentioned. It turns out that he had been warned about the weight throughout the weekend, just barely passing. The fender clearance infraction from after qualifying – that was no accident. Jeremy thought that they wouldn’t check that and pushed the envelope. He purposely cheated, Chase. Therefore, I don’t deser-”

 

“Sarina, don’t tell yourself that. you deserve all of the accolades and praise. This doesn’t take anything away from you.” She shook her head no, knowing otherwise.

 

“I hired him. I asked for him to work for me because I believed that he was the best in the business. It was my choice to associate myself with him, and have him work for me. Each choice that you make in life can sometimes bring good things, but sometimes have consequences. I need to pay for the consequences.” Chase felt so bad in hearing those words. He also worried that the trail of events would cause his father to retract his agreement in possibly having Sarina drive for them. If only he knew the rest of the story.

 

“Well, I’m telling you that you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. You couldn’t have known, and at least you’re doing the right thing now in stepping away from him. You need to hold your head high and know that you can come back stronger next year.” She then looks over at him with a small smile.

 

“That means a lot coming from you.” He then smiles as he wraps an arm around her and pulls her close.

 

“Trust me – you have nothing to worry about for next year. Everything will work out.” She then looks at him cautiously.

 

“Why do you say that?” He then thinks it over, debating whether to go forth with asking her, despite not re-talking it over with the rest of the team.

 

“How would you like to drive for my team next season?”

 

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