Chase stood in a familiar spot – stop-watch in his hands, tapping the button each time the familiar Late Model flew by his spot and glancing his eyes down at the time noted before lifting his eyes again. He also kept watch on the entry of each car, including the one on his mind, as well as the exit. He wanted to see how the handling characteristic of themselves, the others, and the track compared so he knew what to expect getting closer to race time. It also gave Ricky ideas on what to try throughout the session.
Though as he stood there that Saturday afternoon at Dillon Speedway for the Winter Meltdown, he couldn’t help but let out a sigh.
Since the incident a couple days ago, he questioned whether he and Sarina should keep the Late Model schedule going now that her future was secured with Kyle Busch Motorsports. It wasn’t that he believed it to be a distraction or too much, but he worried about their safety.
Each trip they made, it was a risk they were taking with knowing that Harry had surfaced once again and like before, he had yet to be found. Given his image was to attack once and then disappear, some wondered whether that was the case again. However, Chase wasn’t going to take chances himself right now.
As he walked around the speedway, he found himself glancing over his shoulder more than often. He also found himself making his way back to the hauler twice as fast than normal so he could keep an eye on Sarina. He found himself worried about the smallest thing – even sending her small text messages when they were apart, just simply to check in. Sarina had to admit they partially annoyed her, but totally understood with her own worries and answered back with ease.
Easily, though, he had agreed to Dillon Speedway since it was an easily driven trip, being Georgia to North Carolina. However, he had to admit that he was apprehensive about going out to California next weekend for the Winter Showdown.
He had already discussed with Sarina about the possibility of skipping the show at Kern County, but there was no luck. She was set on competing in one of the biggest shows of the season against the best of the best, knowing the likes of Christian Eckes, Bubba Pollard, Ty Majeski and her boss Kyle would be in the field. Before moving on with her truck series career, she wanted to prove that she could get it done against anybody in late models for certainty. Besides, one more weekend away before they started their jam-packed season was supposed to be a good way to keep stress to a minimum.
“Now I can see why Sarina really likes you,” Chase hears and glances up from his phone with a slight smile. Admittedly, he and Kyle hadn’t talked much in the past – even having a couple comments against each other at times. However, given how Sarina was going to driving for Kyle, the pair had put in some effort to get along.
“I can also see why you’re the perfect boss for her in some ways,” Chase replies. “I’m surprised to see you here.”
“There’s a race in town and you don’t think that I’m going to come & take a peak myself? Besides, Samantha is busy getting everything ready for our flight out later. I didn’t want to deal with looking at all those outfits. I don’t mind it, but a guy has to draw a line at some point.” Chase laughs as he clicks the button once again.
“Luckily, I don’t have that problem. I just have a girl that’s addicted to speed.”
“Nothing to complain about there though, right?” Chase smiles and shakes his head no. “How’s her lap times?” Chase shows the clipboard to Kyle, bringing a smile immediately to Kyle’s face in response. “Those are good.”
“She’s been quickest throughout the entire practice, whether beginning or end of the run. As long as Ricky can keep up with the adjustments throughout the day, I see no problems.” Kyle shakes his head approving as he crosses his arms.
“So what happens to the late model program now?” Chase then glances over at Kyle, intrigued. “I mean, with Sarina moving into the Truck Series.”
“She’s still going to drive for me, just on a more limited basis. Ricky knows, as he has for awhile, and has worked out some things for himself for the weeks we’re not busy together.” Kyle shakes his head, approving, having heard from Sarina that she wanted to keep running late model events despite the deal with him.
“So what happens when she doesn’t want to drive for you anymore?” Chase shrugs his shoulders, haven’t honestly thought about that yet. “Anyways, I could talk to you about this all day but that’s not why I came to find you. I’m sorry I didn’t have more time to talk to you earlier this week about Harry. I don’t want it to seem like I don’t care about what’s going on in your li-”
“I get that you’re busy, Kyle. I get those moments, too. I just wanted to make you aware.” There was no doubt that Kyle appreciated that, given Harry’s track record. He remembered hearing about Chase’s plane crash last year, as well as the Hendrick plane flight scare.
“I wanted to let you know that I have put some precautions in place, as necessary. I told all the pilots associated with myself and Kyle Busch Motorsports and they’ve promised to double, triple-check just to be certain from here on out. I also told everybody associated with public relations and security, too, and they promise to keep an extra eye out for someone who seems suspicious incase that’s Harry. They also have the photo in which I asked you to forward me.” Chase listened, so far approving with Kyle’s measures. They were along the same measures he had taken personally, and Rick had put in place with everything associated to Hendrick Motorsports as well. While it didn’t ease his worry much as he thought of possible ways Harry could find his way around everything, it did help a little in knowing more people were aware.
“Kyle, I appreciate it – really. It means a lot to me that you took the time to listen, and put all that in place. Thank you.”
“You don’t need to thank me, Chase. Sarina is my driver and I care about her, and her safety. That’s why I did it. Also, if you ever need anything, let me know.” Chase shakes his head, accepting. “Anyways, I will leave you to your job. Let me know how she makes out later on today.”
Sarina just shakes her head back and forth as she leans against the car, sipping on a bottle of water.
It just didn’t seem possible.
She had dominated the race, leading laps throughout the entire event. She topped the speed charts in each of the runs, showing the car had consistent speed. She could see herself putting the finishing touches on the day. When the late caution flew, it didn’t deter her as she just believed she’d get the same restart once again that she had gotten earlier in the race.
However, it didn’t pan out.
Jared Irvan was able to get the jump on her on the final restart, completing the pass – on the outside, netherthless – to steal the victory. Whether then celebrating in victory lane, she instead stood on pit road as the second place finisher.
She wanted to be happy with the finish as the late model they ran for these events was finally turning out to be as good as the other late model. She wanted to be excited for the speed they showed, and how she had taken to the track easily.
However, she couldn’t be frustrated and disappointed in the moment.
“We’ll get them next week when you’re back in your baby,” Chase states before giving her a quick kiss on the lips. “You did a great job. Be proud of yourself.”
“I am,” she replies with a slight smile. “I’m just a little frustrated. I’ll get over it.” He then wraps an arm around her as he leans back against the car with her.
“I know you will. By tomorrow, you’ll be looking back on the positives while working on the final touches before we head out to Kern County with the other car. You’ll also be focused on making sure that things are going smoothly at KBM for your debut.” She then smiles as she glances around, and then looks back at Chase.
“Can you believe that by the end of this month I will be able to say that I raced at Daytona International Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports? It’s just….It’s a dream come true, to be honest. A dream that I never thought would be reality.” He then smiles as he was excited to watch her run that truck race, just as much as he was excited for the Daytona 500 himself.
“However, it is reality because you put in all the hard work needed to make that happen. I’m proud of you.” He then gives her another kiss before letting her go so she could do a couple quick interviews.