Sarina walks into the hauler, lets out a sigh as she flops back on the couch.
She had been quick throughout testing and practice, even laying down the quickest lap ever seen at Bristol in a super late model. However, come qualifying, everything went to shit and she ended up mid-pack. That was just going to make Sunday interesting.
She hears her phone go off, lets out a sigh as she sees the caller ID and answers the call.
“You should’ve gone with one of my late models….” She hears Kyle’s tone and rolls her eyes immediately. He never missed an opportunity to rub it in how she should be running Kyle Busch Motorsports late models to go with the truck. However, she liked working with Ricky Turner.
“Do I need to remind you of the practice speed set earlier today?” She questions in response.
“You didn’t get the job done when it counted, though. What happened?” She knew the explanation, having spoken with Ricky already. It didn’t make her happy, but it is what it is.
“We didn’t adjust correctly for the changing conditions. We went a little too far and she was just a tick loose. That’s not the best feeling when flying around this half-mile.” She hears a chuckle at his end, glad that she at least got a laugh out of him.
“Well, least you know you have a good car. I’m coming up after the All-Star race tomorrow to watch. Strangely, your boyfriend is the one giving me the ride.” Sarina could only laugh as she wondered how a flight with Kyle and Chase would go.
“Well, I’d suggest finishing second to him tonight so he doesn’t leave you stranded at the airport.” She hears a laugh in response, knowing there was no chance in Kyle listening to her suggestion.
“Hey, your boy has to qualify first. Good luck with that.” She then lets out a sigh. In her heart, Chase should’ve been qualified already for this event. There were a couple races last year he should’ve run, and a couple already they should’ve had. Instead, he was stuck in the Open and hopefully would be able to snag one of the segment wins. “If it makes you feel better, I voted Daniel for the fan vote.”
“That’s just mean!”
“He’s my teammate. I couldn’t just not vote for him….”
“You could’ve and not told anyone. Regardless, it’s going to be a good night. I got some popcorn and me and Ricky are set to relax, and watch him kick butt in the open.”
“Well then I better let you go. See you tomorrow.”
“Bye Kyle.” She then hangs up, letting out a sigh as she relaxes back on the couch.
“You know he’s going to rub it in like hell if Chase doesn’t qualify….” Ricky comments as Sarina rolls her eyes. She wasn’t ready to accept that fate tonight.
She sat there, nerves at a high at times, as she watched him battled amongst the top-three through all the segments. However, one after the other, he came up short of winning, including a loss by just a bumper in one of them.
“Are you kidding me?!?” She lets out after the final segment as Ricky gives her a glance.
“We have the fan vote….” Ricky suggests as she rolls her eyes. She already had the winner picked out for that.
“It’ll be Danica because she’s Ms. Pretty Princes-”
“You’re forgetting her selfish act after Almirola hurt his back. That lost her a bunch of respect.” Sarina remembered that interview well, and how she wanted to strangle Danica for not being more thankful and worried on Aric’s part.
“Well there’s also Matt DiBenedetto. Look at the campaign he put together!” Ricky crosses his arms as he places a smile on his face.
“You’re not giving your boy enough credit. He’s an Elliott. Elliotts are popular. Just ask Bill.” Sure enough, Ricky predicted it correctly as they announced Chase as the fan vote winner. “See?”
“Well, least we got a reason to watch tonight…” She then stands up, grabbing a drink out of the mini fridge, before returning back to her spot on the couch.
“What about your boss? Is he not a good enough reason?” She then rolls her eyes, though knew that Ricky was right as she didn’t mind watching Kyle at all.
Throughout the night, she kept her eyes locked on the television screen.
She found herself impressed with a couple of Chase’s strong moments, allowing him to be one of the 10 drivers in the final segment. She wasn’t exactly happy with the finish, but knew that they’d learned a lot ahead of the Coke 600.
A smile still found her face, though, in watching the event as she let out a big cheer in the restart that Kyle got to start the final segment, taking Jimmie and Brad three-wide into turn one and grabbing the lead. From there on, he flat-out dominated and snagged the win.
With the race completed, the pair headed out to grab a quick snack at the local Waffle House before heading to bed. They walked in, caught off-guard by the group sitting at one of the tables.
“I heard the guy will be alright but still….” They heard one person say.
“That’s just scary,” another commented as the group shook their heads in unison.
“They’re supposed to put an advisory in the morning to be careful around the track and with what you accept,” she noticed Christian Eckes comment. “Remind me not to go to the Bristol snack bar tomorrow.”
“What’s going on?” She asks, catching Christian’s attention. She hated to interrupt a conversation that she was originally not part of, but she hoped Christian excused her given their friendship and how well they had gotten to know each other with racing across the country.
“Someone was poisoned at Bristol today,” he reveals. “Supposedly they ate or drank something – not sure from where – but it had something in it and they were throwing up pretty bad. The guys said that he’d be okay as they got him to the hospital in time, but still. It just seems strange.” She shakes her head in agreement.
“Very strange. Thanks for the heads-up, though. Good luck tomorrow.”
“Same to you.” She then walks over to where Ricky had sat down, taking a seat across from him.
“Did you hear?” Ricky shakes his head yes, as he was caught off-guard as well.
Who would poison someone at a race track?
Sarina glances over the car, letting out a sigh as she leans back against it. If only she had qualified better…..
The next day at Bristol, she started where she had qualified – in the back half of the top-20, and began to slowly make her way forward. However, a pair of cars got together in front of her, leaving her nowhere to go as she crashed into them, resulting in heavy front end damage and the end of her Short Track Nationals.
“And we just had fixed it, too,” she comments, remembering the most recent outing with the car as she looks over at Ricky. “I’m sorry….”
“It’s my fault for screwing up yesterday,” he replies as he leans back beside her. “As long as you’re okay, that’s what matters.” She looks over, shaking her head yes.
“I’m fine…” She then glances down, twirling her ankle around a couple times, which caught the attention of Kyle as his eyes looked down.
“Twirling your foot?” He questions as she looks over at him.
“They said that it’d be tender for a bit after I wrecked at Talladega,” she answers. “It’s fine, just a tick stiff and whatnot. You don’t need to worry, okay?” He shakes his head, understanding.
“As long as you’re ready for the Monster in a couple weeks….” She then smiles, having looked forward to going to Dover from the beginning of the year. It was one of the races she had circled on the schedule when they put this deal together.
“Miles isn’t touching me….” Kyle then laughs, knowing how things usually went at Dover for rookies. He just had his fingers crossed that they avoided the usual rookie downfalls.