I had to admit – the media was a pain in the butt sometimes. Why couldn’t they just leave Ron alone and let him do his own thing? They didn’t need to know every detail of what happened. Some things they can know and ask, but there has to be a line drawn somewhere.
Okay, rant over because let’s face it – Ron did his job handling it well and nobody was suspicious. They had also thankfully left him and all of us actually alone after that spurt, which allowed us to focus on our car.
Did I mention that? Oh yes, we have a racecar to focus on and let me tell you, she’s a reaaaal fast car. These of the types of racecars where my superman nickname comes from with the performance that I should be able to deliver tonight behind the wheel. It displayed it’s speed solidly in qualifying, as we will start third for tonight’s race. The practices – let’s just say that we have found our own groove and very few have found one like it.
Yes, we have a rocketship, plain and simple.
“So based on all this speed you’ve shown all weekend and all your competitors talking about how you’re the one to beat, should we expect to celebrate later?” I hear and smile as I turn to the source of that very question. Candiss was right in her words – people had been talking about how quick we are.
I remember how odd it was when I first brought her to the track, in how she was learning the racing world that I lived in, compared to the street racing world that we both knew away from here. She was learning more and more each week, from the schedule to things to watch for and terminology. Give her the rest of the season and I bet she’ll be perfectly groomed and set for 2015 without any issues.
“If we don’t have any mechanical issues or hiccups on pit road, I can pretty much guarantee a win dear,” I offer and that was the truth. It was just about putting the pieces together. No mistakes, clean night and with this much speed we should be ready to go. But it’s racing, and anything can happen. That’s why they don’t give out the trophies to later?
“I believe in you and your team,” she tells me before kissing my lips. “I look forward to seeing you in a cowboy hat later.” As much as I thought about having another hat, I was looking forward to seeing one on her head. I wondered how the look would suit her.
“Don’t think that I’m the only one that will wear one.” She then laughs as she keeps an arm wrapped around me as we stand on pit road together. It felt nice to have her out here for support, and someone to turn to about things when it wasn’t suitable for others. Physically, we fell in love for attractiveness. It went a step further in learning more about her through conversation and the diner. Though in the time that we’ve truly spend together lately, and seeing how she’s been by my side despite everything, that’s the true sign that this was meant to be.
“You’d just love to see me wearing a pair of boots with a hat and some daisy duke shorts, wouldn’t you?” Why oh why lady did you have to paint that sexy photo in my mind while I’m trying to get into my zone to focus tonight? There goes all those racing thoughts as I think about the possibility of that sexy combo. Thanks….
“Jimmie?” I hear, and immediately the image is wiped out of my mind as I look over at the crew chief. Chad Knaus to the rescue of my mind to remind me what’s important here tonight. “It may be a little tight for the first 20-25 laps, but it should come into it’s own as you get some laps on the tires.”
“Sounds perfect boss,” I offer, which was the truth. It wasn’t about what the car did at the beginning of the race, but how it handled at the end of the race. The track would continue to get looser as the night goes – weird, I know but welcome to these tires and this surface – so the goal was to start a little tight to be good at lap 50, and then adjust to be perfect at the final 50 laps.
“Great.” I watch as he then focuses his eyes on Ron, who had been standing by my side since we had come out to pit road. “Take care of yourself tonight. I know you want to help, but you’re still recovering last I heard so let’s go about it carefully.”
I had to admit. There was a certain ease in having Ron return to the team and be on pit road with us. The previous weeks while I knew that he was okay, it was odd not having him here. I knew that he had to take his time recovering, but the team just like it had a hole despite him not being here. Cody did a great job, but it wasn’t the same.
There’s a certain feeling that you get when you have all your guys there and working in sync, and I had that feeling tonight. It felt great to have that feeling after the previous couple of weeks. Maybe that’s why we were quick. Maybe I had gotten my mojo back.
“I’ve been relaxing all day so I’ll be fine for the night,” Ron assures him. “You worry about the car and Jimmie, and I’ll worry about myself. I can handle it.” Right, he say that now but we all know how any of our guys get when they get into the zone. They focus only on their work, and not think of anything else till it’s too late. Need evidence? Ask them how many times they forgot about lunch till I delivered.
“Candiss, can you plea-” I start, before we can even move further.
“I’ve got it,” she cuts me off, already knowing the question. Simple, easy request.
“Did you just ask your girlfriend to babysit me?” Ron asks, obviously hearing things before Candiss had answered.
“I worry and care about you, so I just want her to keep an eye out incase,” I explain. “I know you hate it, but just accept it to make us all feel better.” I knew that he wasn’t the most accepting person on a proposition of this material, but hopefully he would this time and we could move on.
“Fine – but just to make you feel better because I don’t need it.” Like I said, not the most accepting person but fine. Whether he accepted or not, my point was made to the person that it needed to be made to.
I couldn’t think about it any longer if I wanted, though, as the call over the PA meant that opening ceremonies were starting. Taking a deep breath, wrapping an arm around Candiss and closing my eyes, it was time to focus. It was time to get in the zone and get ready.
It was time to go out and win a race tonight.