Dale shook his head in agreement as Greg laid out the plan of attack for practice that weekend at Bristol.
“Then we’ve got an off-weekend so it’ll give us some time to think about stuff for Darlington and Richmond,” Greg continues as Dale shakes his head yes. “Personally, I want to make a statement at Darlington so people know what to expect when we hit the intermediates in the Chase. I also know you wouldn’t mind winning there, either.” Dale couldn’t deny that theory, either.
“I’ve believed in you since day one, and I still believe in you,” Dale states. “Everything sounds perfect. We are going to get out of this slump.” Greg shakes his head in agreement.
“To be honest, we had quick cars at Pocono and last weekend at Michigan. We just had the pit road hiccups. No speeding on pit road anymore for you, and I’ll make sure the guys get the lug nuts tight.” Dale lets out a sigh as he had been beating himself up all week thus far for the speeding penalty at Michigan. They had dominated the race all day, but on the final round of pit stops, he sped down pit road and it cost them all their track position. They then had to restart back in the 20s, getting caught up in a crash.
“Trust me – I don’t want to repeat last weekend, again.” He then sits back in the chair, thinking it over. He had been grumpy since Sunday afternoon after he had emerged from the wrecked racecar. Letting out a sigh, perhaps he had been a little unfair with Marie. Maybe it was the frustration from speeding that led to his blow-up regarding the wedding planning. “Greg, have I been a pain in the ass this week?”
“Do you want the honesty or something to make you feel goo-”
“Seriously?” Greg lets out a sigh as he glances up from his notes.
“You about bit my head off on Monday when I came to ask you about ideas for Bristol. You then about bit the crew’s heads off when someone made the comment about you helping out with pit crew practice. Let’s just say that there have been comments all week. With that said, we’ve all let them go, knowing they stem from the Michigan incident.” Dale lets out a sigh and shakes his head as he thinks back to the night prior.
“I think I let that get to me with regards to Marie, too.” Greg then looks at his driver confused. “I told her that I didn’t want to deal with any wedding planning till after the season was over. We’ve got the major decisions dealt with, so we can deal with the rest after the year is done. I told her I wanted these final weeks to solely concentrate on racing due to things being, well, suckish these past couple months.”
“And now you’re worried that you went off a little too harshly?” Dale shakes his head yes as Greg lets out a sigh. “To be honest, I don’t blame you for what you said. We have both said that total concentration is needed for the Chase so we can be the best that we can, and figure out a way to get a championship out of all this. You see it with Jimmie and Chad, and Kevin has hinted that he’s the same way. I wouldn’t kick yourself in the butt so quick.” Dale knew that Greg was probably right in the argument, having discussed previous Chase experiences with Jimmie. However, it still didn’t sit well given the tone he took.
“I just feel that maybe I was a little too forth coming with how I handled it.”
“So perhaps you should offer an apology for your attitude and then let the agreement stand, if you feel that way. She was there in Michigan. She’ll totally understand the attitude.” Dale knew that to be the truth as he remembered the glance that she gave him the flight home given his lack of wanting to social at all, even with the kids. It also didn’t help that he failed to do much around the house that night or Monday, either.
“Why was I such an ass?” Greg shrugs his shoulders.
“You let everything get to you personally, that’s why. You’ve always been that way, too. Look at things when they went down with Chase and Mariel-”
“Do not bring that up.” Greg then freezes upon the tone of Dale’s voice as Dale takes a deep breath. “Look, I don’t want to think about what happened, okay? We’ve moving forward and away from that. Chase is being able to get through each day without much thought. While he admitted to me there are a couple nightmares and flashbacks, he’s been able to move forward from it all with some ease now. I am also moving forward myself, finding it easier on planes and such. I don’t need any reminders.” Greg slowly shakes his head yes as he looks back down at his notes.
“My apologies for bringing it up. I forgot how sore of a subject it was.” Dale then sighs as he keeps his eyes focused on the crew chief.
“I’m sorry for my tone and attitude for when you did bring it up. It’s just….I’d rather not, okay?” Greg shakes his head in agreement. Greg was set to get back to work with ease, though stopped and glanced up at his driver. There were still some lingering thoughts on the topic.
“Pardon me if I’m pushing boundaries with this question, but you have to go back to Pitronia to do the royal announcement and such, right?” Dale slowly shakes his head yes as he crosses his arms. “Are you ready to head back there? I mean, that’s where a lot of this started.”
“I’ve been back since, Greg. We went there for the royal crowning, and other country behaviors. We actually are going to visit during the off-weekend next week, too. I’ve been able to handle it fine without any problems those times, so why would the wedding be different?” Greg wasn’t sure, but felt the need to address the topic. He wasn’t ready to hear about a random wedding surprise.
“I was just curious, that’s all. I wanted to make sure you were taking care of all basis.” Dale then stands up as he glances over the desk at the crew chief.
“I can handle my life, Greg. Trust me. Let’s just focus on getting the car running better.” Dale then walks towards the door, taking one final glance back at Greg. “Text me if you need me, okay?” Greg shakes his head yes as he watches his driver leave the office.