Short Track Lovin’ – Chapter 31

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Since the conversation with Bubba, there had been a myriad of thoughts flooding through Sarina’s mind in what he had to share from his perspective.

He was a friend and confident, but yet he had shared the concerns that others would have. The pair had been seen together at the Snowball Derby and hung out at other friends. She now had the deal with Chase Elliott that everybody else wanted. What if everybody assumed it was all over love and nothing on her talent?

She knew that they could continue to hide their relationship, but yet the suspicions were there as Bubba pointed out. Would it be worth it to share the details already?

Letting out a sigh, she had put all focus into helping Ricky Turner prepare the car and get it set for the year ahead. Since the Derby, they had tore it down to the bare chassis, before going through each part through reassembly to make sure that everything was perfect. If there was even a slight question on a part, a new one was ordered and it was replaced. They had gotten down to having the body back on the car with all the mechanicals, and now Ricky had put focus into driver comfort.

Going into the second day in the shop, she was sitting in the car, making sure the pedals, seat and steering wheel were adjusted just as she wanted. Per Chase’s recommendation, she had gotten a carbon fiber seat through Hendrick Motorsports. It was more bulky than anything that she had before, but knew for safety reasons that it was probably warranted. She’d just have to get used to dealing with the bigger headrests and such.

So far in this day, they had gotten what she wanted done in feeling comfortable with ability to the reach the pedals and switches with ease, while finding some comfort.

“You look comfy in there sweets,” Chase offers as he walks into the shop and up to the window of the car. She immediately looks to her left and smiles in return with ease.

“I thought you were busy in Charlotte,” she replies as he leans in and lightly kisses her lips with a smile of his own. He had told her that he couldn’t return back to Georgia for awhile due to taking care of business at Hendrick Motorsports in preparing for the new season ahead. However, he had gotten an unexpected break and was making good use of it with a trip home to Georgia to see some people.

“I got a break and figured I’d come to see you.” He then takes a step back looking over the car and shaking his head impressed. All they needed for a good looking wrap to make it pop for her and they’d be set to go for the year ahead. “You’ve done a lot of work. Well done. Are we close to being ready as it looks?”

“Everything is done underneath so we were just perfecting her compartment,” Ricky offers from his perch. He had noticed Chase enter the room but had kept quiet when he saw the glance from his boss, knowing that he wanted to surprise Sarina. “Wrap it up and we’re set for the year.” Chase couldn’t help but feel pride in that detail. Everything was going along schedule in his mind.

“That’s great to hear,” he says. “I guess that means that we’re ready for Speedfest?” Sarina then looks over at the pair with a pure look of shock on her face.

“Speedfest?” Sarina asks as she climbs out of the car and walks over to them. “As in racing in Cordele at the end of this month?” Chase shakes his head yes, as she looks over at Ricky. “And you knew of the boss’ wise plan but kept your mouth shut?” Ricky shrugs his shoulders, but then gives in with a simple head shake yes. “So when were you going to tell me, boys?” Chase clears his throat to catch her attention as he takes a deep breath.

“I was going to tell you tomorrow, either by phoning you or coming to see you, once I knew for sure that Ricky had the car ready.”  She shakes her head in disbelief as she walks away from the pair.

“I can’t believe….” He then follows her, grabbing her hand as she glances back at him. “We said that we’d kick things off with Speedweeks at New Smy-”

“Speedweeks is one of the biggest shows of the year. You can’t just waltz in there with no preparation. I know that you have the talent behind the wheel. I know that you can go down there and kick ass. However, you need experience with Ricky so you guys can work together. That’s why I thought of running Speedfest right here in Georgia at Crip Motorsports Park so you can use it for experience gaining. If it goes well, I expect you to do what I did last year.” She then rolls her eyes.

“Right, because that’s no pressure at all considering you dominated, Elliott.” Chase shakes his head, remembering how it was a great kick-off to last season.

“I believe that you can do the same if Ricky gets this car hooked up like it should be. Why are you so worried?” She then lets out a sigh as she grabs her drink off of the shelf and takes a sip.

“I’m not worried per say about working with Ricky, driving the car or getting out on the track. Like you said, I can drive and we both know that. It’s why I’ve kicked your ass before, no offence.” Chase knew that he had to give her that much credit, no matter how cocky it may have come off in the way that she said it. “Bubba Pollard called me abit ago to ask if I had accepted the offer. I told him that I had to decline as I was working on another offer. He figured it out that it was with you.” Chase then looks at her slightly confused as he takes a seat on a stool, glancing over at Ricky.

“How did he figure it out?” She then looks over at Ricky as he is giving the pleading gaze that he kept his mouth shut, before looking back at Chase.

“Lay off on Ricky because it has nothing to do with him. Despite our ways, we were noticed together throughout the weekend by people and there are rumors already being spread that we’re together. So nice try on playing it quiet. Don’t worry – Bubba is keeping his mouth shut. He just warned me that others may not play so nice, and it may blow up in our faces. I don’t want to cause issues for either of us, especially with your new dea-”

“When I hired you, I accepted everything that came with it. From people talking behind my back about us, to those doubting your talent, and those who say that you deserve nothing at all for what happened at the Snowball. I’ve dealt with people saying stuff all my life – it comes with being Bill Elliott’s son. I can deal with a couple more comments. As far as my Sprint Cup racing deal with Rick, this won’t affect this at all. The team, sponsors will not be affected by it. Stop worrying about me. I can handle it.” She freezes upon his words, simply shaking her head and accepting. She knew that he could handle it. He had proven that he could handle pressure with ease. But was she up to the task of handling it?

“I’m just worried about what people will say and everything.” She then glances down at her feet. “I guess it comes with the territory since I am always been looking over my shoulder.” Chase then stands up and places his hands on her shoulders, causing her to look up.

“I understand, however I believe in you. I believe in you, my dad believes in you and Ricky believes in you. It shouldn’t matter to what they say. Just focus on believing in yourself and those around you, and you’ll be fine. As they say, haters are motivators so let those doubters push you harder.” He then kisses her lips. “I love you, and I will be by your side no matter what happens moving forward.”

“I love you, too, and I can’t thank you enough for everything.” He then smiles as he pulls her into a hug, rubbing her back. “Chase?”

“Yeah?” She knew that with everything that had happened, there was only one thing left to say.

“Remember how we talked about coming out, and how you wanted company in Daytona for your big moment?” He then looks into her eyes and shakes his head yes. “Well, I’m ready to join you on pit road, if you’re willing to have me.”

“I have only one response – let’s go win Speedfest and Speedweeks together, all around.”

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